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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The First WCIX News Team

I always love hearing from former Channel 6’ers, especially when they are willing to share pictures and memories from the old independent days.

One such person is Glenn Lewis, who ran the film lab back when the news department was first getting started. Glenn was kind enough to share a photograph of the first WCIX news team, along with some of his recollections.

Click on the picture to view it full size.

"The man on the left, I think was Ned Powers, and he did the weather. The story behind the picture is that Bob Sheridan (screen right, next to Prescott Robinson) and Ned had opened a bar and wanted something to hang behind the bar.

I think this was the first news set. Also, I think it was the only station where you had to punch in at a time clock. Ted (Adams, the general manager) was such a tightwad. He thought we were cheating on overtime.

Moving the cobwebs from my brain, I remember things from the first Ten O'Clock news. I might get their names wrong.

The first news director was John Pike, Dick (Descutner) was asst ND at the time.
Nancy Palmer was production manager.
Jack Cowart was chief engineer.
Guss Cado was the assignment editor.
Mike Jueao was chief photo.
Andy Kay was a news cameraman.
Cliff Albertson was the director."

Thanks Glenn. This was well before my time at the station, but some things were slow to change. When I started (March 1980) we still had the time clock. It was there for several years, at least until Taft took over.

Do you have any pictures, videos, or just plain memories of the old WCIX? Please feel free to share them with this blog and its readers. WCIX may now be a part of Miami’s past, but its history is still very much a part of who we are. Don’t be shy.


Alex Diaz-Granados said...

As a long time South Florida resident, I remember the old Channel Six very well. I'm maybe too young to remember the on-screen anchors of the Ten O'Clock News, but I do recall watching old movies such as 1953's Titanic and 1933's King Kong when WCIX had the Eight PM Movie on weeknights and the weekend afternoon "movie blocs." It's been a long time since WCIX morphed into WFOR, but I still have fond memories of Channel Six when it was an indie station....

Anonymous said...

I may have been operating one of those PC-70 cameras at the time. what you don't see in this shot is the chroma key wall. It was red shag carpet and ONLY TV6 was using red (I think Prescott liked wearing blue). Good times...

Scott Levine slevine@lorcott.com

WingMan said...

By the way, I think the director was Cliff Abromats...I believe he's currently in the Buffalo, NY area. I bumped into him in the late '70s at WABC-TV New York.

Anonymous said...

If you go on YouTube to look at this video, 1978 Commercials: "Wrigley's, Wicke's, Target, WDAF" at 2:06, there's an anchorwoman at the end of it. Who is she & was she on WCIX?

Jeffers66 said...

I don't recognize the anchorwoman.

sjm said...

I was at channel 6. 73-75. I was in traffic with Linda Hill. Back when we had to do log books. Out que commeral and take them to control. We use to get calls at home when commerals wasn't found. Gail Blachard was #3. Ted was GM. Jack Willard was accounting. Hy Gardner was still there. Joey Carr and I was close. Fres was there. Mark Plockins. John Kirpathrick was head of sales.

Ray Faiola said...

I was a film editor at WCIX in 1978. I worked for Mark Plotkin. What a great station!

Michael Rabon said...

My dad (William R. Rabon) was the original chief engineer for WCIX. Came in from New Orleans with Jack Cowart. He lived at the base of the transmitter until his retirement in 1977. I spent every summer there from 1967-1977. I loved the old studio building at 1111 Brickell Avenue, looked like a stack of checkers. Others that I remember other than Cowart, was Chuck Klaw. Sitting in the transmitter control building was the biggest kick for the kid that was me. In the beginning they showed 3 movies a week...3 times a day, followed by Gilligan's Island, Hogan's Heros, and the like. Some of those movies I sat through 21 times, LOL.
MG Rabon

Philip Abromats said...

Cliff Abromats (not Albertson) was the technical director (meaning he was in the control booth either running or overseeing the switcher). He is my estranged brother. I knew John Pike and Dick Descutner, but don't recognize the other names. Cligg came to Channel 6 (an independent at the time, WCKT (now WSVN) was the NBC affiliate) from WPLG-10, the ABC affiliate where he began as an intern because there were some connections back in the day between the station and long-gone National Airlines, and I went to 6th grade with the son of a National Airlines VP who put a good word in for him). Our dad, a real-estate agent, once appeared on WCIX's air with Diana "Dee" Lee, who did a daytime talk show. Cliff moved on to KYW-Philadephia around 1976 as an assistant producer, where he worked with the late Jessica Savitch, then on to News Director at WKYC (NBC O&O in Cleveland shortly thereafter, then to be News Director at WABC-New York in 1981. I hope this helps clarify some history. BTW, WCIX had a terrible signal curve and could only be received in Broward on a UHF repeater (there was no cable then), and even that was spotty. Also, the news was put on at 10 PM as opposed to 11 to get the elderly segment, who did not stay up until 11. Not a prime demographic for advertisers, but with that stations dismal ratings in the mid-70s, anything was an improvement! (I believe they had just transitioned from doing a lot of programming in Spahish for the Cuban auudience, something WLTV-23 would take over.)

Michael Rabon said...

For sure the WCIX antennae were set to propagate to the south, and southeast. The signal was very good in the Keys, Cuba, Jamaica, and most of the Virgin Islands. I still recall the adverts for 'Bahama Mama' soda. I believe it was blanketing Cuba for the purposes of propaganda - there was a secondary studio setup in the transmitter building to be able to do EBS stuff without the microwave link from 1111 Brickell, and a big generator with 1500 gallons of diesel fuel. 24 hour broadcasting wasn't possible until the mid '70s and the installation of a 2nd transmitter. The transmitter was in the middle of a yucca field adjacent to the Everglades, the frequent momentary signal interruptions were caused by frogs being electrocuted and blowing the breakers. Which I found to be humorous as a young lad - I had a collection of nearly vaporized frogs.