Radio-TV Broadcast History

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WEWS-TV, channel 5, is a television station in Cleveland, Ohio. WEWS has been owned by the E. W. Scripps Company since its inception, and is an affiliate of the ABC television network. WEWS' studios are located on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland, and its transmitter located in Parma, Ohio.


Cleveland, Ohio
Branding Channel 5 (general)

NewsChannel 5 (newscasts)

Slogan On Your Side (news)

Start Here (primary general) First in Cleveland... First in Ohio (secondary general)

Channels Digital: 15 (UHF)

Virtual: 5 (PSIP)

Subchannels 5.1 ABC
Owner E. W. Scripps Company

(Scripps Media, Inc.)

First air date December 17, 1947
Call letters' meaning Edward Willis Scripps

(founder of the Cleveland Press)

Former channel number(s) Analog:

5 (VHF, 1947-2009)

Former affiliations CBS (1948–1955)

DuMont (secondary, 1948-1956)

Transmitter power 870 kW (digital)
Height 285 m (digital)
Facility ID 59441
Transmitter coordinates 41°22′26″N 81°43′4″W / 41.37389°N 81.71778°W / 41.37389; -81.71778

[2][3]A screenshot of WEWS's sign on broadcast from December 17, 1947. This also served as the station's test pattern through the 1970s. [2]WEWS first went on the air on December 17, 1947,[1] as the first licensed television station in Ohio. The call letters denote the initials of the parent company's founder, Edward Willis Scripps. The station is the oldest in Cleveland to maintain the same channel position (as an analog broadcaster), ownership and call letters since its sign-on.

A few weeks before WEWS-TV's sign-on, Scripps launched WEWS-FM (102.1 MHz., now WDOK) as an outlet for WEWS television personalities to gain on-air experience before the launch of the television station. Channel 5's first broadcast was of a Christmas pageant run by the station's corporate cousin, The Cleveland Press.[1] In short order, WEWS became the most modern television station in America.[citation needed] Its staff included capable producers Jim Breslin and Betty Cope, who would later become president of WVIZ.

In October 1948, WEWS, still Cleveland's only television station, broadcast the 1948 World Series games played in Cleveland between the Indians and the Boston Braves.[1] The telecasts were fed to stations throughout the Midwest.

WEWS was originally a CBS affiliate, with secondary ABC and DuMont affiliations, but it lost the CBS affiliation to WJW-TV (channel 8) in 1955 after that station's then-owner, Storer Broadcasting, used its influence with CBS to land the affiliation. It lost the DuMont affiliation when DuMont ceased operations in 1956. WEWS was also an affiliate of the short-lived Paramount Television Network; the station was one of the network's strongest affiliates, airing such Paramount programs as Time For Beany,[2] Hollywood Reel,[3] and Frosty Frolics.[4]

WEWS also aired one NBC program, The Tonight Show, during this time, as the program was preempted by Westinghouse-owned NBC affiliate KYW-TV (now WKYC-TV), and WEWS cleared it live until 1965.

Local programming[]

In its early days as an ABC affiliate, the station produced its own shows in the afternoon, as ABC offered very little network programming in that daypart. Among the local programming offered during the 1950s and 1960s was news analysis from Dorothy Fuldheim, children's programming featuring the "Uncle Jake" character played by Gene Carroll and the "Captain Penny" character played by Ron Penfound, and exercise programs with Paige Palmer.

Alice Weston had the one of first live television cooking shows, and Barbara Plummer was "Miss Barbara" for a generation of young viewers on the local version of Romper Room. The most popular show was the Gene Carroll show which began in the 1950s and ran well into the 1970s. The program aired every Sunday at noon. The show showcased the local talent of Cleveland area.[1]

WEWS also offered a 90-minute afternoon variety show The One O'Clock Club weekdays hosted by Fuldheim and Bill Gordon.[1] The program was so popular that competitor KYW-TV was prompted to organize a competing variety show which was the beginning of The Mike Douglas Show.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, WEWS produced several programs that enjoyed national exposure through syndication. The first program was Upbeat. Considered by some to be one of the most significant early rock and roll TV variety shows, Upbeat featured a live audience, a group of dancers and live (or lip-synched) performances by the big names of the era.[1]

The program began locally as The Big 5 Show, and the name was changed to Upbeat when it went national, altogether running from 1964 to 1971. Among the hosts for this program was Don Webster, who later doubled as the station's lead weather forecaster. At its peak, Upbeat was seen in over 100 television markets.

Artists who appeared on Upbeat included Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, among others. In fact, Redding's final appearance ever came on the show on December 9, 1967. The next afternoon, his twin-engine airplane crashed in the icy waters of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, killing all but one of the eight passengers on board.

Another program seen throughout the country was Polka Varieties, an hour-long program of polka music[1] that ran locally on Sunday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:00 from 1956 into the early 1980s, and was syndicated during its later years to 30 television markets. The program featured various popular bands that played Slovenian-style polka, Polish, Italian and Bohemian-style music. "America's Polka King", Frank Yankovic, was the original band to perform on the show. Other bands included Richie Vadnal, George Staiduhar, Markic-Zagger, and Hank Haller. Original host Tom Fletcher was replaced by Paul Wilcox, whose presence became an indelible part of the show. Uttering the well-known show-opening phrase, "From America's Polka Capital of Cleveland, Ohio, this is Polka Varieties, now in its ___ year on the air!" were several famous voices associated with the station over the years, including Court Stanton, Ralph Gunderman, and David Mark.

"Black On Black," which examined issues of importance to Black communities, was syndicated to several markets.

In 1970, WEWS became the broadcast rights holder of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, and ABC held the NBA's national rights at the time. Channel 5's partnership with the team continued until 1973, when the Cavaliers moved to then-independent station WUAB (channel 43), coincedentially, after the NBA moved from ABC to CBS.

WEWS is the Cleveland market carrier of the Ohio Lottery and its signature game show Cash Explosion Double Play.


At one time, the Cleveland/Akron market had two ABC affiliates: in addition to WEWS, WAKR-TV served viewers in Akron and Canton who could not receive a clear signal from WEWS. WAKR was founded in 1953, six years after WEWS, and was stuck with a less-desirable UHF signal instead of a VHF signal following the FCC's 1952 Sixth Report and Order, which resulted in a realignment of television allocations in the Midwest. WAKR-TV gained an ABC affiliation as the network could not clear its full schedule on its then-primary station in Cleveland, WXEL (as WJW-TV was known then), and retained it after ABC moved full-time to WEWS in 1955. As ABC soon became on equal footing with CBS and NBC in the late 1960s, this did cause cannibalization of ratings and made WEWS brass angry; they did not want to compete with another station showing the same programming.

The E.W. Scripps Company, the owners of WEWS, would always petition ABC's decision to allow both stations to carry the same programming. In the 1960s, ABC allowed WEWS to broadcast the better shows, leaving WAKR-TV with the less popular shows and second-rate syndicated programs. Meanwhile, WAKR-TV would air ABC shows that WEWS would preempt for movies or other assorted programming, and cleared the entire ABC schedule.

It was the popularity and financial success of WAKR-TV's sister radio station that kept the TV station afloat, which was severed when the radio stations were spun off and WAKR-TV became WAKC. Into the 1990s, while WEWS carried first-run programming like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, and Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, WAKC was left with The 700 Club, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch and infomercials in the 7:00 p.m. hour. In addition, WAKC's newscasts struggled in ratings even in Akron, often being beaten by WEWS.

The feud ended in May 1996, when WAKC canceled its news operation after being purchased by Paxson Communications and dropped all ABC programming in December 1996 to air infomercials and religious programming under the WVPX-TV call letters. It would become northeast Ohio's outlet for the Pax TV network, which is now Ion Television.

Despite this, WAKR/WAKC also became a "farm station" of sorts; its' most notable alumni was Ted Henry prior to his long association with WEWS.

The Morning Exchange[]

Main article: The Morning ExchangeOne program in particular, The Morning Exchange, which ran from 1972 until 1999, changed the face of morning television. It was the first morning show to utilize a "living room" set, and the first to establish the now familiar concept of news and weather at the top and bottom of the hour. During its peak in the 1970s, nearly 70 percent of all television sets in Cleveland were tuned to the program. The format also served as a basis for ABC's Good Morning America.[1]

Digital television[]

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion took place on June 12, 2009, WEWS-TV continued to broadcast digital broadcasts on its pre-transition channel number, 15. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers still display the station's virtual channel as 5.

Cable coverage in Canada[]

The station is readily available over-the-air to Kingsville, Leamington, and Pelee Island, and was once one of the three stations from Cleveland carried on local cable in those three locations (The others being WKYC-TV and WJW-TV, until 2000 when Cogeco displaced Shaw Cable as the cable provider for Essex County. WEWS was also on cable in London, Ontario, carried until December 1969 by the London Cable TV system (now Rogers) in most of London, and until 1977 by the Maclean-Hunter system (also now Rogers) in the southwest third of the city; LCTV replaced the station with fellow ABC affiliate WJET-TV from Erie, Pennsylvania.

On October 16, 2009, the Windsor Star had notified readers that digital subchannels of the Detroit and Toledo stations would be added, while the Cleveland stations (such as WEWS-TV) and some Toledo stations would have to be dropped from the listings to make room for them, starting with the next issue of the TV Times, released the next day. The only Cleveland local station remaining in the Windsor-area TV Times is WUAB.

Logos and imaging[]

Main article: Catch 5===Logos=== From sometime in 1968 until 1998, WEWS' logo was known as the Circle 5, a variant of the Circle 7 logo associated mainly with the original five ABC owned-and-operated stations (such as WXYZ-TV in Detroit, now owned by E.W. Scripps). The only real change to the logo came in 1995, when it was slightly tilted to the right. Initially sister station WPTV in West Palm Beach also used the same logo, but they too recently[when?] have modified theirs from the original.

In 1970, the station commissioned musician and jingler Frank Gari to create a promotional campaign song. Catch 5, as it was known, caught on in Cleveland. The Catch 5 promo was first used to highlight the then-new John Hambrick/Dave Patterson anchor team on Eyewitness News[5].

WEWS kept Catch 5 as its official slogan until 1977. The station then transitioned towards a localized version of ABC network campaigns and Gari's "Hello News" campaign ("Hello Cleveland") for its on-air imaging, and as the theme for Live on Five. By the mid-1980s, only the Eyewitness News broadcasts kept the Catch 5 theme music. In 1986, WEWS dropped the Catch 5 musical theme altogether and adopted another Gari music package, "Good News". Finally, in 1987, the "Hello" news theme and image campaign were dropped and replaced with an upbeat version of "Good News".

While WEWS was positioned on-air as either "TV5" or "Channel 5" up until 1990, the "Newschannel 5" branding was initially interchanged with "WEWS Channel 5" before eventually being extended to all broadcasting dayparts, including daytime and prime-time.

In January 2007, to coincide with their debut of high-definition newscasts, WEWS returned to a slightly modified, more angular version of the old Circle 5 [6] and started using Frank Gari's Eyewitness News theme music on its newscasts, promos in a manner similar to ABC-owned stations. By September 2008, the ABC logo was gradually integrated onto the "Circle 5" first on occasional promos (including a harmonization of ABC's "Start Here" campaign), then with all newscast opens on March 2009, and with the on-screen 'bug' on April 20, 2009. Unlike the ABC O&O stations, WEWS embeds the ABC logo to the right of the "Circle #" logo and not the left, a distinction shared by Detroit's WXYZ-TV, Toledo's WTVG-TV, and Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV. A few ABC stations like Philadelphia's WPVI-TV identify themselves as 6ABC not ABC6. WEWS uses the 5ABC look.

By late May 2009, the station still refers to its' newscasts as "Newschannel 5" but on-air promos and other imaging outside of newscasts will refer to the station as "Channel 5."


In addition to the Catch 5 campaign, WEWS also had several customized versions of the ABC campaigns from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as other localized campaigns.


WEWS started covering news events soon after it went on air. The winter after it went on air, Cleveland experienced a blizzard, and for the first time WEWS had extended coverage for hours. During the early and mid-1950s, channel 5's first newscasts and weather reports were delivered by Tom Field.

In 1959 Dorothy Fuldheim, who had been with the station before it even went on air, began to formulate her own newscast in response to the new 30-minute newscast on KYW-TV, the first half-hour newscast in the country.[citation needed] Fuldheim utterly hated hard-hitting newscasts such as the one KYW-TV had created.[citation needed] Instead, she centered her newscast around her interviews, a general overview of the news, and her commentaries (the very opinionated Fuldheim frequently inserted her own opinions about the stories). Fuldheim was the first female in the United States to have her own television news analysis program.

Twenty-seven year-old John Hambrick took over as lead anchor on WEWS' evening newscasts on Christmas Day in December 1967, with Fuldheim staying on as a commentator. Don Webster presented the weather and Gib Shanley was the sports anchor. In 1968, WEWS changed the format of its newscasts slightly to a version of Eyewitness News. In 1970, Dave Patterson joined Hambrick on the early newscast and then became co-anchor on the 11:00 p.m. newscast in 1971. Ted Henry, who joined WEWS in 1972 as a behind-the-scenes producer, got his start on the air later in 1975 as a weekend weatherman. (In later years, Henry would admit that he, not knowing the slightest about forecasting, simply made up the forecast every day[7].

In that same year, Bill Jacocks, said to be Cleveland's first regularly scheduled African-American anchorman,[8] joined WEWS. Jacocks started as assistant public affairs director, and became weekend anchor in January 1975. For a solid decade (until 1985) Jacocks remained the one constant weekend anchor while many co-anchors came and went. Among those doing their first Cleveland co-anchor stints with Jacocks were Tim Taylor and Wilma Smith.

Hambrick and Patterson continued to anchor the newscasts together until Hambrick left for San Francisco in 1975. At that time, Ted Henry became the weekend anchor, and then a year later in 1976, co-anchor on the weekday evening newscasts with Patterson. Henry continued as the lead anchor until his retirement on May 20, 2009[9].

This era marked the start of dominance for the WEWS news programs that lasted until well into the 1980s. In 1977 weekend co-anchor Tim Taylor left WEWS for weeknight anchor duties at WJW-TV. Fuldheim’s role decreased as she only presented her interviews and commentaries, but still appeared on the air three times every day until retiring in July 1984 at the age of 91.

WEWS's news department underwent another major change in 1982. Previously, the 5-6 p.m. spot was occupied by The Afternoon Exchange, the afternoon companion to The Morning Exchange. That year, the program adopted a new format, and was renamed Live on Five. The broadcast was originally hosted by Wilma Smith and Don Webster, and retained many elements from The Afternoon Exchange, such as interviews, movie reviews, health reports, and some cooking segments. Added to the mix were news updates from Ted Henry.

Evolution of the news department[]

[4][5]An 24 Hour NewsSource update circa 1991-1994. These updates are best remembered by the clock in the picture displaying the current time.As WJW's news programs became more and more successful during the 1980s,[citation needed] (as well as CBS having better ratings than ABC during most of the 1980s) channel 5 began facing competition for the first time in years. According to Ted Henry,[citation needed] towards the end of the 1980s, management felt that the station could produce a better newscast and overcome WJW by using a format other than Eyewitness News. An outside source was brought in and concurred that the station could do a better job in news production by adapting a new format. The analysis added that the Eyewitness News format gave nothing to viewers which suggested that its news was any better than the other stations'.[citation needed] With this in mind, WEWS began developing a format which would involve the production of full newscasts at the regular time slots, and in addition, mini-newscasts at the top of every hour, even overnight. This concept was dubbed "The 24 Hour NewsSource" as a way to suggest that WEWS was better than other stations since it produced a newscast every hour. In 1990, the new format was put into place and the station began identifying itself as "NewsChannel 5" (a title it shares with several stations in other markets).

From 1990 until 1993, WEWS and WJW continued battling for the top rated spot. In 1993, WEWS launched a successful campaign called "Together" which reminded viewers of the station's commitment to Cleveland through news and programming since its 1947 launch and that that same commitment was present today. The campaign also slightly toned down the newscasts by making them less hard-hitting (and more family-friendly, as ABC had been seen as a "family network" in the early to mid '90s). As a result, WEWS once again emerged as the market leader in news.[citation needed] In 1994, WJW became a Fox affiliate and adopted a more hard-hitting format for its newscasts, going with Fox's "edgier" reputation and style, leading to many of its viewers changing channels to WEWS.[citation needed] Meanwhile, WKYC-TV and WOIO (channel 19, the new CBS affiliate) failed to present much substantial competition at all. However, WJW soon began regaining viewers due to the fact that it was able to produce longer local newscasts since Fox had less programming than the other networks. In response, WEWS began promoting its news division as "The most-watched news team in Ohio" in hope that the bandwagon effect would keep viewers tuned to its newscasts. In 1997, WEWS began to lose more viewers,[citation needed] this time to WKYC, when former WUAB anchor Romona Robinson moved to WKYC. At this time WEWS discontinued its hourly “24 Hour NewsSource” updates.

To try to prevent more viewers from leaving, WEWS got a new set and a new newsroom in 1998 and adopted "On Your Side" as its slogan (which it currently still uses). More noticeable, however, was the dropping of the station's longtime Circle 5 logo. That year, WEWS also became the first TV station in Cleveland to launch a website NewsNet5.

WEWS won many well deserved national awards between 2000 and 2004. The station boldly replaced prime time programs with town hall meetings,and was credited with saving steel mills and local hosptials. While WEWS built on its outstanding news legacy in the early 2000s,winning most primary ratings races, revenue issues dogged the station. Commercial-heavy newscasts and prime time lacking news promotion took a toll. At the same time ABC prime lead ins fell into last place. As a result the station's 11 PM newscast ended a 4 year run at number one, and lost by a share point to WOIO. The trend continued in late news for the next several years.

On January 7, 2007, WEWS began broadcasting newscasts in high-definition, becoming the third Cleveland television station to do so. On December 17, 2007, channel 5 reached a major milestone—the station celebrated its sixtieth anniversary on the air.

In the February 2008 sweeps period, WEWS' noon newscast placed first in its timeslot, while its afternoon and evening newscasts finished in second place. Its 11 p.m. newscast finished second in its timeslot (and third among all late-night newscasts). |url= |work=The Plain Dealer |publisher= |date=2008-03-30 |accessdate=2008-05-12 }}</ref>

On October 19, 2009, WEWS upgraded its graphics and music packages for all its newscasts to the standard format currently used by all Scripps stations. The station changed to a new website format to match on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010. The new WEWS website is an in-house operation (the previous website was operated by Internet Broadcasting). The websites of the other Scripps stations (which are currently operated by Inergize Digital) will follow suit over the next few months.

News/Station Presentation[]

Newscast Titles[]

  • East Ohio Gas Company 11:00 News (1960s-1970)
  • Newswatch (1970-1972)
  • TV-5 Eyewitness News (1972-1990)
  • NewsChannel 5 (1990-present)

Station Slogans[]

  • First in Ohio, First In Cleveland (1947-1990 and 2009-present)
  • Catch 5 (1970-1986)
  • We're Still The One, and You Gotta Catch 5 (1977-1979 and 1979-1980; localized version of ABC campaign)
  • We're The One (1978-1979; localized version of ABC campaign)
  • Hello Cleveland, TV-5 loves you. (1979-1991; used during period station used Frank Gari's Hello News)
  • You and Me, and TV-5 (1980-1981; localized version of ABC campaign)
  • Now is the Time, TV-5 is the Place (1981-1982; localized version of ABC campaign)
  • Ohio's News Channel (1981-1990; news slogan)
  • Come On Along with TV-5 (1982-1983; localized version of ABC campaign)
  • That Special Feeling on TV-5 (1983-1984; localized version of ABC campaign)
  • Cleveland's Live 24-Hour News Source (1990-1994; news slogan)
  • Together, We're Making a Difference (1993-1994; image campaign)
  • Give Me Five (1994-1998)
  • On Your Side (1998-present)
  • Start Here (2008-present; localized version of ABC campaign)

[6] This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.====Voiceover artists====

  • Ernie Anderson
  • David Mark (1977-1995)
  • Ed Hopkins (1989-1996), voice credits (1992-1996)
  • Bob Rice, voice credits (1991-1992)
  • Scott Chapin (1996-2006)
  • Sean Caldwell (2006-2007)
  • John Pleisse (2007-present)
  • Suzy Nelson, secondary (2008-present)


Current on-air talent[]

(as of May 2010) Current Anchors

  • Leon Bibb - weekdays at noon and 6 p.m.
  • Tracy Carloss - weekends
  • Kimberly Gill - weekday mornings
  • Danita Harris - weeknights at 5 and 11 p.m.
  • Lee Jordan - weeknights at 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Pete Kenworthy - weekday mornings

Power of 5 Weather Team*

  • Mark Johnson (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist/NWA Seals of Approval) - Chief meteorologist; weeknights
  • Jason Nicholas (AMS Certified Broadcast Meteorologist/NWA Seals of Approval) - Meteorologist; Monday-Wednesday at noon and weekends
  • Christine Ferreria - Meteorologist; weekday mornings, Thursday and Friday at noon
  • Eileen McShea - Weather Anchor; fill-in

(*) - WEWS' weather team also provides forecasts for WNCX and WDOK (Cleveland) and WDJQ (Canton) Radio.

Sports Team

  • Andy Baskin - Sports Director; weeknights
  • Terry Brooks - Sports Anchor; weekends
  • Jack O'Breza - high school sports analyst
  • Reggie Rucker - football analyst
  • Brad Sellers - basketball analyst


  • Lorna Barrett - freelance reporter
  • Alicia Booth - health reporter
  • Dan Haggerty - general assignment reporter
  • Patty Harken - traffic reporter
  • Curtis Jackson - general assignment reporter
  • Bob Jones - general assignment reporter
  • Paul Kiska - news/sports reporter
  • John Kosich - general assignment reporter
  • Debora Lee - general assignment reporter
  • Marielle Lue - general assignment reporter
  • John Matarese - consumer reporter (based at sister station WCPO in Cincinnati)
  • Joe Pagonakis - "Troubleshooter" consumer reporter
  • Ron Regan - investigative reporter
  • Alicia Scicolone - general assignment reporter
  • Cristin Severance - ONN Cleveland bureau reporter (embedded at WEWS)

Notable alumni[]

External links[]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Station History from WEWS Website
  2. ^ The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, OH): pp. 4. 1953-02-10.
  3. ^ "Television Programs". East Liverpool Review (East Liverpool, OH): pp. 12. 1952-06-25.
  4. ^ The Evening Independent (Massillon, OH): pp. 11. 1951-09-29.
  5. ^ WEWS TV "Catch 5" Local News Promo from the 1970s. Accessed May 25, 2009.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Washington, Julie E. (2009-05-17). "Cleveland's Ted Henry reflects on 40 years in broadcasting". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2009-05-19. Prior to joining WEWS, Henry worked on-air at several stations in Canton, Akron and Youngstown, and also as a weatherman at WAKR-TV.
  8. ^ Feran, T, Heldenfels, R.D.: "Cleveland TV Memories", mem# 364, Gray & Company, Publishers 1999
  9. ^ Washington, Julie E. (2009-04-23). "Ted Henry, longtime local anchor, to retire". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2009-04-24.