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Television History
Radio History
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  Other TV History

The History of WAND, Decatur, IL
  Page 1
The First 10 Years of Channel 17 as WTVP 1953-64
  Page 2
LIN Broadcasting and WTVP becomes WAND 1965-77
  Page 3
The Years of Rebuilding 1978-1985
  Page 4
The ABC Years 1986-2005
  Page 5
WAND Becomes an Affiliate of NBC, Digital Years 2005-present


This could be your ad.....e-mail for more information!

WAND, Channel 17, Decatur, Illinois

Page 3: The Years of Rebuilding 1978-1985

An Easter Disaster for WAND

Easter weekend and the Easter morning of 1978 in central Illinois was not your usual day of Easter church services and pastel Easter outfits.  Central Illinois was experiencing one of the worst ice storms in a number of years with damage to area trees, power lines and structures.   The storm damage reports began on Good Friday with trees and power lines, then by Saturday afternoon and early Easter morning the list of damaged structures would include the loss of two TV broadcast towers in central Illinois. 

One, was the former tower/antenna of WJJY-TV which was licenced to Jacksonville, Illinois during the very late 1960's and very early 70's.  This station went on the air from a sixteen hundred foot tower and antenna located on the bluffs of the Illinois River near Meridosia, Illinois.  By 1978, the former TV station was history having left the air just a short time later in 1970.   WJJY-TV went on the air in 1969 broadcasting at 4.5 million watts of power from one of the three highest structures in North America.  WJJY went dark within two years and the broadcast tower was only a gravestone marking it's short history.  Unfortunately, the tower was constructed using the typical specs for a much lighter antenna load.  This high powered TV station was using an experimental antenna which weighed much more than what was usual for any UHF station.  It was that extraordinary weight combined with the additional weight of solid ice which was said to cover the antenna and tower, some 3 feet thick,  which took it down in the pre-dawn hours of that Easter morning.

WAND studios during the late
1970's or 1980's

photo courtesy of the
Bob Wilcott Collection

The Easter weekend of 1978, a central Illinois ice storm claimed
two central Illinois broadcast towers,
coincidentally both supporting similar RCA broadcast antennas.  One tower in west central Illinois, west of
Jacksonville took the former WJJY-TV 1,600 foot tower to the ground. 
The same storm also destoryed the broadcast
tower of WAND. 

Above closest right: A picture of the ceiling and open roof, the result of an
ice chunk which fell through the studio roof above the control room from the
former broadcast tower behind the facilty at South Side Drive.

Upper left(long): Ice falling from the South Side Drive
tower which would be called back to service within days.

Left: WAND Station Manager Barry Geoghegan holding a chunk of
ice which contibuted to the tower failure.

All photos above courtesy of the
Bob Wilcott Collection

(from Decatur Herald, March 26, 1978)
(from Decatur Herald, April 4, 1978)

Coincidentally WAND was utilizing a similar antenna as WJJY did with it’s new transmitter location near Argenta, Illinois.  Even though, it wasn’t quite as large or heavy as the original antenna used by WJJY-TV, as the frequency difference between UHF channel 14 and 17, along with the difference in power, didn’t require such an antenna, it was still, quite heavy and larger than most other antennas being used on top of similar towers of the era.  It was on that Saturday before Easter that the 11-hundred foot steel tower of WAND crashed to the ground.  It was reported that one WAND official had gotten a phone call shortly before 2 PM from a woman who said, “Oh my God, your tower just went down!”  The damage broke communication between at least one  person, an engineer at the transmitter site, and the station.  When the tower fell, it evidently took the phone lines with it.  Debris was said to have fallen through the roof of the transmitter building, but the engineer on duty wasn’t injured nor did the transmitter receive any damage. 

The cause, obviously was the buildup of ice on the tower and antenna, but certainly the additional weight of the experimental antenna contributed to it’s own demise as well.  The scenario was very similar to the WJJY-TV failure of the next day, when it was reported that two guy wires snapped and allowed the tower to buckle near the top and fall, taking out the other guy wires and pulling the rest of the tower down with it.

This was a trying time for several central Illinois TV broadcasters as well.  WCIA, Channel 3 was off the air from Friday afternoon to around 10 PM on Saturday due to a power outage at the transmitter site.  WICD was on the air, but had lost it’s microwave feed from WICS.  At that time, WICD did not have the ability to receive the NBC network from coax, and satellite reception was still quite a few years in the future.  WICD solved it’s problem of not receiving the network by quickly installing an antenna at the studio to receive the off air signal of WTWO-TV, Channel 2 from Terre Haute, Indiana and rebroadcasting the network signal.  It’s interesting to note, though, that WTWO was suffering from a related problem of not receiving the network signal because of downed phone lines.  The Terre Haute station was receiving an over-the-air signal from the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis and was rebroadcasting that to it’s viewers in the Terre Haute area.  I remember a description of the WICD tower which said that the tower wasn’t straight up and down because of the ice load and had a rather “S” configuration under the ice load.

 The additional weight of the ice was putting a great deal of stress on the guy wires.  I was at WDAN/WDNL in Danville at the time, and even though the Danville area didn’t get the full brunt of the ice storm, there was some ice build up on the 385-foot tower of WDAN and WDNL which was the former WDAN-TV and WICD tower pre-1967.  I remember seeing a bit of a sway, along with hearing some really strange noises coming from the newly formed ice sculpture.

No doubt about it, WAND was in deep trouble with no way to return to the air quickly, but the station did have one ace-in-the-hole that none of it’s competitors had.  That unique advantage was in the form of it’s former tower and antenna which stood at its studio’s back door.  The original WTVP tower could play a part of being a way to get WAND back on the air....and soon. The station had two alternatives to get back on the air, and only one way to solve it’s major problem and that was to re-build the tower.  The alternatives they were faced with to get a signal on the air as quickly as possible were, to build a temporary tower at the Argenta site which would be considerably shorter than 11-hundred feet and limit it’s coverage area at least until a new tower could be built.  The second alternative was to use the existing original 600-foot tower and antenna behind the studio.  It would be a taxing two weeks before WAND would return to the air waves.

In an April 1st story in the Urbana Courier, Dick Westbrook, WAND News Director reported that the station would be returning to the air by April 3rd broadcasting from it’s original tower.  He described what had been occurring during the last two weeks.  First, a plan was undertaken to broadcast from a temporary antenna placed at the 250-feet level of the existing tower.  Engineers were unsure how far the station would reach, and at that time, a decision would be made to perhaps utilize the station’s former antenna at the top of the tower later.  There was also a plan to purchase a used UHF antenna from a Channel 17 in Philadelphia in case the old antenna was unusable. Westbrook said by mid-April, if the old antenna was still operational, it would allow WAND to broadcast once again to the entire area.  This was a bit of an overstatement, since the original antenna would not be able to handle any major power increases over what it was using before 1966. 

The total damage from the ice storm of Easter weekend 1978 was reported at 1.5-million dollars!  LIN Broadcasting had insurance enough to handle a loss of 1.2 million dollars.  It was also reported that the construction on a new tower would take another six to eight months to build, assuming it would be rebuilt at the site near Argenta.  There was also consideration of another unspecified tower site.

By April 13th, WAND was once again broadcasting from it’s original tower and antenna located on Southside Drive on Decatur’s southwest side.  It seems that the original antenna abandoned in 1966, was still operational again in 1978.  During the clean up and construction of facilities to contain a temporary transmitter at the studio location, plans were being made by LIN Broadcasting to create an even more powerful WAND to broadcast from an even taller tower!  T.J. Vaughn, Vice-President of Operations, stated that the company was “considering a substantial increase in the size of the tower and an increase in the power.”  Plans being considered included a 2-thousand foot tower and an increase of power to 3-million watts.  Obviously, talk of 2-thousand foot towers upsets the FAA which would need to approve of such a structure.  Ultimately, the FAA wouldn’t approve of such an obstruction to the flight paths of local aircraft, and the tower height of 13-hundred feet was all the governmental body was going to approve.  If there was going to be any increase in coverage area of WAND, that increase was going to have to come from a power increase.

Danville's Loss is Champaign-Urbana's Gain

Above are ID slides used by WAND, Decatur and translator W-68-AA in Champaign.  The left one was created before Halloween 1978  
Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

The one above was created during the winter of 1978-79. 
Both slides/photos are courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection.

With WAND being on low power, once again, WAND lost many, many households of viewing.  One way to increases the number of households able to view the station was to move the translator which was serving no purpose in Danville.  The translator in Danville wasn’t able to receive WAND with a constant off-air signal for broadcast anyway.  I remember watching WAND from the translator at the time, and the signal would drop in and out at random making viewing near impossible.  Moving the translator would take W-68-AA to Champaign-Urbana.  Once again, T. J. Vaughn made the announcement that WAND would return to the Twin Cities by way of the “translator.”  This time, though, viewers in Champaign-Urbana would receive WAND, not on channel 70 as it did before 1966, but would be watching on channel 68.  The translator found a new home on the new 21-story University Inn located near the heart of the Twin Cities.  This would allow the station to re-broadcast WAND and ABC to the viewers of Champaign-Urbana within a ten mile radius.  The equipment was delivered on May 24th and by May 29th W-68-AA went on the air from Champaign-Urbana. 

It didn’t take long to the complaints to come rolling in to the management of WAND.  It seems the signal for W-68-AA was not reaching all points equally around Champaign-Urbana.  The complaints seemed to be coming from viewers from the east and west of the transmitter/antenna.  Larry Katt, WAND General Sales Manager, stated that work was being done to rectify the situation and that a better signal was promised to the viewers of the area.  I assume that the problem was eventually solved.

ABC Alternatives for a few former WAND viewers

With the ice storm failure of the tower in March 1978, many households were left without any reception of ABC programming from WAND.  The Danville cable system, Warner Cable was forced to go elsewhere for ABC programming, choosing to receive WTHR(now NBC) from Indianapolis.  Other cable systems in the area, which formerly received ABC from WAND, were forced to go elsewhere as well.  For example, some to the south, picked up WBAK, Channel 38 from Terre Haute(now FOX), others to the north were forced to pick up a scratchy signal from WLS, Channel 7 in Chicago, WRAU(now WHOI), Channel 19 from Peoria, or KTVI(now Fox) from St. Louis.  Many viewers wouldn’t have a choice for alternative ABC programming for several months.

The video left is from an outside source and may be withdrawn without notice.

This screen grab is from July 4th, from what is believed
to be 1980.  It features Karen Konyar and long time
popular WAND reporter Doug Wolfe filling in anchoring
on the holiday mid day news.

The mid day news ran from 11:30 to Noon, right before
"All My Children" on ABC.

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

Above left:  The anchor team of Bob Dolan(sports),

Cathy Styles and Bob Cashin and
Loren Boatman(weather) from 1979-80.
In 1979 after the Argenta-Oreana transmitter site was rebult,
WAND built a new news set with a new anchor lineup.  Bob Cashen
was joined by Cathy Styles.

Other publicity shots of Bob Cashin(with an unknown reporter in
the back ground), studio shots of  Bob Cashin, Cathy Styles
and Loren Boatman.

(Photos courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection)

There were several delays in getting the tower built.  Besides getting governmental approval from the FAA, there was a matter of a power increase which took the FCC some time to approve.  There were also several equipment delays as well as tower constructiion delays as well.  The tower included more guy wires for support and a new transmitter building as well.

By March of 1979, WAND was finally back on the air with 5-million watts of UHF power at channel 17, on a 1,314 foot tower in the Argenta-Oreana area along I-72.

(TV Guide ad from the Doug Quick collection) 

Dick Westbrook, News Director

Dick Westbrook was WAND News Director during much of the
1970's and 80's. He was also a sometime anchor, and anchor for
"Looking In," WAND's public affairs features which aired on weekdays.
It was the title of the station's mid day newscasts with
various local interviews and local events.

Westbrook was formerly News Director at WDZ(AM) in
Decatur during the mid to late 1960's.

Pictures above (top left) include a black and white publicity picture,
probably from the late 1960's or very early 1970's.
Station ID(top right) with Westbrook, and some scenes
with Dick "Looking In."

(Photos courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection)


"Good Morning America" premiered in 1976 on ABC to go head to head with NBC's "Today Show."  The show was somewhat unlike "The Today Show" as the set used for the morning news/info program resembled someone's living room, instead of a more traditional news room set.  The show was friendly, fast moving and included hosts actor, David Hartman(top right) and actress, Nancy Dussault(who would later star with Ted Knight on "Too Close for Comfort" on ABC).  Dussault was replaced the next year by Sandy Hill.  Throughout the late 1970's and 80's "Good Morning America" continued to move up in the ratings and would eventually overtake the long running NBC morning news program.  David Hartman would eventually be joined by Joan Lunden.   Hartman was host from 1975 to 1987, when he was replaced by Charles Gibson.  Spencer Christian was weathercaster for most of the run through the 90's.  Steve Bell was one of the early newscasters in the late 1970's and early 1980's.. Meanwhile Lunden continued from 1980 to 1997 when she was replaced by Lisa McRee.

(pictured right-middle) is Barry Manilow, who was being featured as a guest.  This particular graphic was a bumper used between the commercials and the program material.

"Donny and Marie" was produced by Sid and Marty Kroft, producers of many Saturday morning cartoon series.  This starred 18 year old Donny and his 16 year old sister(in the original season), Marie.  Guests included the other members of the Osmond family including the younger Jimmy who was 12 at the time.  It included a variety of music, skits, comedy and fashion, as Bob Mackie was brought on board to give Marie a more mature look.  After 1977 the show was taped at their own studio in Orem, Utah.  It ran from 1976 to 1979 on ABC.
"Laverne and Shirley" was a spin off "Happy Days" and premiered on ABC in 1976 where it became an instant hit, following it's originating show.  The show starred Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall and their wacky neighbors Lenny and Squiggy(played by Michael McKean and David Lander).  Other characters were brought in as the two lead characters matured and later moved from Milwaukee to Burbank, California.  The show ran on ABC through 1983.
"The Bionic Woman" began a two year run on ABC for one season(1976-77).  It starred Lindsey Wagner along with "Bionic Man" co-star Richard Anderson.  It moved to NBC during the 1977-78 season.
The sometimes controversial "Three's Company" was about as harmless as any controversial show can get.  It ran on ABC from 1977 to 1984.  Stars pictured above John Ritter and Norman Fell, also starred Joyce DeWitt, Suzanne Somers, Jenilee Harrison and Pricilla Barnes.
"Charlie's Angels" ran on ABC from 1976-1981.  The original three former police women who went to work for Charlie(voice played by John Forsythe) were Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett-Majors.  Farrah got the most press, but all three were attention getters in their own right.  Later after Farrah left the series, at least as a regular, the original two were joined by Cheryl Ladd, and later by Shelly Hack and Tanya Roberts.  David Doyle played the assistant to Charlie and would sometimes get involved in the cases the women were working on.
ABC's urban sit-com "What's Happening" ran on ABC from 1976 to 1979 and starred Ernest Thomas as Roger, Fred Barry as "Rerun", Haywood Nelson as Dwayne, Mabel King as Mama and Danielle Spencer as Dee.

ABC was big into comedy variety shows and one of the biggest was "The Captain and Tennille".  This one ran during the 1976-77 season.  It was another of the youth oriented variety hour long shows starring the married pop due which had several top 10 hits during the 1970's.  Toni Tennille starred with husband, Daryl Dragon are shown right.

Mike Cheever

Mike Cheever was the WAND Promotions Director /Manager
from 1970 to 1984
.  Pictures: top left  Mike at the
"Tales of Terror" set at WAND in which he starred as
Dr. Terror(pictured lower left in makeup), Mike behind the
WAND studios, 70's.  There is another shot of Mike below on this
web page from a TV Guide ad for the mid day news program.
He took many responsibilities at WAND including that of
announcer, chief copywriter, producer, weekend weather,
worked in audio control and in his words, "everything in between."

Photos courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

He also kept an on-air presence with several
features.  He was host of "Looking In" the WAND
public affairs program for a time, as well as
playing the part of "Dr. Terror" on the Friday
night movie series "Tales of Terror."  Mike also
was the "voice" of WAND doing voice over
promotions for local programming, movies,
topical promos and public service announcements.

Mike also was part of the mid day news at
WAND and host of the "At Your Service" feature.

On a personal note, Mike served as a model for
my initial role of Promotional Director at WICD,
as I also maintained an on-air presence during
my early days at WICD.

Supplemental Information:  I found Mike Cheever, via e-mail, and he sent me details about his time at WAND.  One thing he is espcially proud of is the creation of at last two very successful television advertising campaigns for two local car dealers.  One of the most recognizable campaigns was for the local Perry Thomas Lincoln Mercury.  Mike writes, "Perry Thomas' famous ending with Chauncey the Cougar growling began with a visit from the cougar and his handlers.  We got the critter to roam the showroom and offices of Thomas' facility.  Back at the studio we got him to growl on a blue screen which we inserted over Thomas' logo."

"We successfully used the cat on the sign for several months.  Then the tape got mislaid and in a rush of frustration I got the bright idea to put Perry on the sign and have him growl.  Around this time, Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart were using kittens and humans to close (ala MGM's Leo the Lion), so Perry Thomas' growl became a kind of local phenomenon.  Long after we both had left the limelight, I ran into Perry and (while) we were talking some (people) went by and growled.  Perry said to me, "I sometimes wish you hadn't been quite so successful with that growling!  Everywhere I go, people growl at me.""

Mike also writes about his creation of "Tales of Terror" the Friday night feature from 1974 to 1978 on WAND.  The idea began with the title of the American International Pictures series starring Vincent Price in features based on Edgar Allen Poe tales.  He tried to come up with the name of a character to introduce the movie series and came up with "Dr. Terror."

He decided to wear a black turtleneck, black slacks and with the use of lightling created the "spooky look."  The character of "Dr. Terror" went on to host the showing of many different horror and sci-fi movies over the years on WAND.  The character's laugh was inspired by the laugh used in the classic radio shows, "The Shadow." 

Now that I have made contact with Mike, I hope to add many of his recollections to this site.  Thanks so much, Mike!!

The daytime schedule during 1978-85 seasons included the popular daytime serials "General Hospital," "Ryan's Hope," "The Edge of Night" and "One Life to Live,"

During the 1977-1979 season "General Hospital"went from being tied at number 8 in the ratings to number one within 2 years.  "General Hospital" rode the number one position in all of daytime through 1988.

star Kristy McNichol is pictured left .  This ABC show ran from 1976-1980 and also starred Sada Thompson, James Broaderick and Meredith Baxter-Birney.

"Eight is Enough"
was a family one-hour comedy/drama which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1981.  "Personally it's one my favorites of all time."  It featured the stories of a large family headed by a newspaper columnist played by Dick Van Patten.  Among the family members were Grant Goodeve, Willie Aames and Adam Rich as the three sons, and the daughters were played by Lani O'Grady, Laurie Walters, Susan Richardson and Dianne Kay.  Adam Rich is pictured from a Christmas episode putting a homemade ornament in memory of his mother who passed away during the run of the series.
This video above is from the series 2nd season, and is from an outside source and could be withdrawn without notice.

"Operation Petticoat" was inspired by the 1959 movie of the same name which starred Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.  Ironically the TV version starred the real life daughter of Curtis, Jamie Lee Curtis along with John Astin, Richard Gilliland, Yvonne Wilder, and many others.  This was a World War II military comedy set in the south Pacific aboard the Navy sub- The SeaTiger.  The sub was probably best known as the "pink submarine."  During it's second season run, many of the stars were replaced.  That's not a good sign, but even the cast change didn't help.  It only ran on ABC from 1977 to 1979.

"Family Feud" with Richard Dawson was a Goodson-Todman game show based on, not correct answers, but the most likely answers to questions from a polled audience.  Richard Dawson, left the prime chair in the "Match Game" to host this ABC and syndicated game show.  His trademark was kissing all of the female contestants.  It premiered in 1976 with Dawson as the host until 1985.
This very short lived ABC series "Blansky's Beauties" ran from February to May of 1977.  It starred Nancy Walker (from the Bounty paper towel commercials, and Rhoda's mom Ida) along with one of my personal favorites, Karen Kaye and former Happy Days/Laverne and Shirley vets Lynda Goodfriend, Eddie Mekka, Scott Baio, and Pat Morita among others.
The movie Animal House was sure to inspire a TV series.  During the 1979 season, there were three AH inspired series, one for each of the three networks.  ABC had "Delta House" which ran from January to April of 1979.  The ABC version starred some of the original AH stars: John Vernon, Stephen Furst, Bruce McGill, James Widdoes along with newcomers Josh Mostel, Peter Fox and Gary Cookson along with future stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Kastner.
Lee Majors straight off of "Big Valley" and "Owen Marshall" played Colt Steavers, a famous Hollywood stunt man, who also solved crimes along with his fellow workers and friends played by Douglas Barr, Heather Thomas, Jo Ann Pflug and Markie Post.  Lee Majors sung the title theme, "The Unknown Stuntman."  "The Fall Guy" ran on ABC from 1981-86.
"Makin It" was inspired by the movie Saturday Night Fever and starred the guy who did the Dr. Pepper commericals, David Naughton.  This one even starred Ellen Travolta, instead of John Travolta and also used many of the Bee Gees songs as background music.  It ran on ABC from February to March of 1979.
A good looking star, playing a good looking rich guy who solved crime; that was "Matt Houston."  Lee Horsley stared along with Pamela Hensley, George Wyner, and eventually Buddy Ebson was brought in after "Barnaby Jones" ended it's run.  Here the former, Jed Clampett played Roy Houston, the father of Matt.  "Matt Houston" ran on ABC from 1982 to 1985.

"VEGA$" starred Robert Urich as a P.I. in Las Vegas.  Urich starred as Dan Tanna along with his classic Thunderbird.  Co-stars included Phyllis Davis, Bart Braverman, Judy Landers, Naomi Stevens, Greg Morris and Tony Curtis in a re-occuring role as Tanna's boss, Philip Roth.  "Vegas" ran on ABC from 1978 to 1981.
The video right, is from an outside source and could be withdrawn without notice.
The critics loved this one, an ensemble cast which would go on to see various levels of success once the series ended.  "Taxi" ran on ABC from 1978 to 1982, then went to NBC during it's final season in 1982-83.  The stars included: Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman, meff Conaway and Carol Kane.  The show won 14 emmys during it's five seasons, and in spite of that, was cancelled twice by two different networks.

"Fantasy Island" was an ABC classic which ran from 1978 to 1984.  It starred Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize as hosts on an island in which people could act out their fantasy in their careers, relationships and love.  It was an anthology series, one in which various guest stars would be featured each week and the only regulars would be the hosts. 
This video is from an outside source and could be withdrawn without notice.

"Love Boat", was another ABC antholgy series similar to "Fantasy Island" which featured the personal stories of guest stars.  This was another Aaron Spelling production, one of many on ABC during the 1970's and 80's.  The video above is from the 1982 season, and I include this one because of Bobby Short.  Bobby was a Danville, Illinois native and one in which I would personally meet as he was a frequent guest during a morning talk show on WDAN Radio, where I was employed for many years.  He was a terrific guy, and was always very friendly and 'down to earth.'  He is also included in a radio aircheck from WLRW in which he sang a jingle for Dr. Pepper back in the 1970's.  He also sang a famous TV commercial for "Charlie" a popular cologne also from the 1970's.  See more  below....
This video is from an outside source and could be withdrawn without notice.

A collection of promotional graphics from the late 70's and early 1980's for nighttime lineups, as well as for specials("Let's Get Physical" with Olivia Newton-John) and movies(like "Smokey and the Bandit").

"The Love Boat" was described as a sit-com, but is probably best in a catagory of it's own, a sort of "An Hour-Long Anthology Comedy/Drama with Re-occuring Characters and a Laugh Track."  This very popular ABC series ran from 1977 to 1986 and was part of the Saturday night lineup which also included "Fantasy Island" which was "An Hour-Long Anthology Drama with Re-occuring Characters without a Laugh Track."  See Ricardo Montalban in a "Fantasy Island" promo graphic above.

Above and below are a series of ABC network graphics
which were used for promotion and branding during the early 1980's. 

Right-A TV Guide ad for the Saturday Night Live copycat show for ABC called
"Fridays."  The show was, in my opinion was very funny, but it's probably
best known for bringing Michael Richards and Larry David together
to help form "Seinfeld."

WAND IDs from the early 1980's featuring (left) Karen Konyar

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

and (right)  Mindy Mintz

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

WAND IDs from the early 1980's featuring (left) Leadra Reilly, Reporter

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

and (right) featuring the (film) camera work of Scott Torrens

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

We don't know why this picture was taken, or exactly when, but it includes Larry Rosenthal along with Ed Mathias and WAND Station Manager
Barry Geoghegan.  Note the studio camera, without a teleprompter.  Also on the wall behind the trio is the word "TEAM."  Quite possibly from the old electronic store chain Team Electronics.  Decatur's Team Electronics was located at the old Northgate Mall.

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

This ID slide fetures WAND Sports Director Bob Dolan, and
presumably was used after the contstruction of the replacement
tower/antenna was completed in 1979.  The use of "Get to Know Us" and
"It's Where You Are!" could be a sign of the station trying to
re-market itself to viewers who couldn't receive the ABC station
for  nearly a year.

Photo courtesy of the Bob Wilcott Collection

"Soap" was another of the controversial ABC sitcoms of the 1970's.  Even before it went on the air ABC received thousands of letters of complaint, based on rumors of  infidelity of  the characters, including the sexual activities of a priest, gay characters and insane senior citizens.  Some ABC stations aired the series late at night, but in spite of the pressure WAND aired the series at it's network time.  It did introduce Billy Crystal, Robert Urich, John Byner, Diana Conova(Judy's real life daughter), Roscoe Lee Brown and others to the public, many of which went on to star in other TV series and in movies.
It was the "Star Wars" era, so ABC developed it's own sci-fi franchise, in "Battlestar Galactica" starring former Pondorosa "Pa" Loren Greene and a young bunch of space refugees looking for another planet to call home...called Earth.  They included Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Herb Jefferson, Jr., Maren Jensen and many others.  It was TV's most expensive show to produce during it's time as special effects were by John Kykstra(who also did "Star Wars").  It lasted one year, then came back as "Galactica 1980" having taken place 30 years later.  It was still headed by Greene, but new actors were used including Kent McCord(of "Adam 12" fame), Barry Van Dyke(Dick's son), Robyn Douglas and others.  The last series ran from Jan through August of 1980.

ABC's committment to sports continued through the 1970's with "ABC's Wide World of Sports."  Jim McKay continued hosting duties with others from the ABC Sports stable.  Roone Arledge created and produced the concept back in the 60's.  He later became President of ABC News in 1977.  It's hard to feature anything about ABC without including him.   He brought many innovations to network sports broadcasting, many of which he brought to "Wide World" including the use of video taping obscure sporting events and bringing a dramatic flair to covering  those events, making it quite popular to the public.
Arledge produced all 10 ABC Olympic broadcasts, created Monday Night Football and wrote "the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" delivered by Jim McKay.

"The Best of the West" was a western sit-com, and was one of my personal favorites.  It starred Joel Higgins as Sam Best, who was a Civil War Vet who is hired to be a sheriff of a town that is in control by Parker Tillman(played by Leonard Frey).  The town's doctor is played by the great movie comedy actor Tom Ewell.  Sam's wife was played by Carlene Watkins and son by Meeno Peluce.  Tracy Walker was also in the cast as a dumb hired hand of Tillman.  It ran from 1981 to 1982.

more coming soon
"T.J. Hooker" starred William Shatner and James Darren, Adrian Zmed and Heather Locklear as L.A. cops.  It ran on ABC from 1982 to 1985.  It's interesting to note that Heather Locklear was starring in two ABC series at the same time.  She also starred in Dynasty, the prime time soap.  It also moved to CBS as a late night entry in a 90-minute format during it's final season.
"Too Close For Comfort" starred Ted Knight(right after "Mary Tyler Moore"), Nancy Dussault, Devorah Van Valkenburgh, JM J. Bullock and Lydia Cornell.  Pictured above is Cornell, Bullock and Knight.  This time Ted starred as a cartoonist with his two daughters living in the apartment below his and his wifes.  Bullock was an aggrivation to Henry(Ted Knight).
"Who's the Boss" starred Tony Danza(right off of "Taxi"), along with Judith Light where it airred for eight seasons.  In this one, Danza played the part of a former baseball player with a daughter, played by Alyssa Milano.  He becomes a live-in housekeeper of Lights.  This one ran from 1984 through 1992.
"Father Dowling Mysteries"was based on a British TV series.  The US version starred Tom Bosley and Tracy Nelson(Rick and Kris Nelson's little girl) as a nun who with Bosley as a priest, went on to solve crimes.  It ran from 1987 to 1991.
This was an unlikely spin off of the classic "Odd Couple" which starred Tony Randell and Jack Klugman, only this one was played by black actors.  Ron Glass(from "Barney Miller") had the prissy Randell role of Felix Unger while Demond Wilson(from "Sanford and Son") played the Oscar Madison role in "The New Odd Couple."  It ran only for a short time, but was so close to the original show, it couldn't be all that bad.  In fact out of the 13 episodes, 8 of those used scripts from the original show.  Unfortunately, the audience didn't buy it.  It ran from October 1982 through February 1983 on Friday nights. 

(Left) Charles Gibson doing one of the ABC Network News Breaks during prime time.  This time he's promoting the late night airring of "NightLine."  This was from sometime in the early 1980's.

"Mork and Mindy" was a spin off of sorts of "Happy Days" and used all of the formula elements which made "Happy Days" a national TV hit.  One of the cookie cutter ideas was the use of catch phrases which seem to work themselves into everyday use.  In this case it was "Na-nu, na-nu."  Mork was played by Robin Williams who seemed to ad lib most of his dialog.  Mindy was played by Pam Dawber.  Conrad Janis played her father.  The show was tampered with by some well meaning, but stupid network bosses who made changes to the series such as the location, cast and timeslot.  The show lost half of it's audience, and probably damaged the series for later syndication.  It ran on ABC from 1978 to 1982.

(above left):  Yes, WAND contracted for the use of a helicopter
and used it to promote its news coverage in 1980.

(top right): Individual TV Guide ads from September of 1982
with new WAND male anchor George Moyer and
long time weather caster Loren Boatman

(left): WAND picked up the first run syndicated "Entertainment
Tonight" which ran during prime time access at 6:30pm beginning
on September 14th, 1981.

(TV Guide ads from the Doug Quick collection)

(above): ABC Saturday morning cartoon schedule from the fall of 1981.

(above): "The Best of the West" a 30-minute western sit-com that
premiered in the Fall of 1981.
It was funny as heck....but didn't last long.

(above): Syndicated programming included "Soap World" a day to day recap of the daytime dramas, with background information on the stars. Also picked up for that fall was the off network CBS series "WKRP in Cincinnati."

The first run syndicated shows were added to the WAND daytime schedule, "The People's Court" with Judge Wapner followed by "So You Think You Got Troubles."

(TV Guide ads from the Doug Quick collection)


During the 1970's into the 1980's, ABC offered a number of big budget mini-series and programmed them during primarily during sweeps months to attract and lock in viewers for an extended length of time, usually over a good part of a week, and several nights in a row.

Among the mini-series which attracted large audiences for ABC and WAND were: "Rich Man, Poor Man," "QB VII," "Roots(pictured logo left)," "The Thorn Birds(pictured below far right)," along with the original "The Winds of War" and the sequel "War and Remembrance." 

was the big winner in that it was one of the first, had an all star cast, based on a true story and was programmed during a week which included a major snow storm over much of the U.S..  This pretty much insured a large audience, and it paid off....big!

"Bosom Buddies" was the beginning for a major Hollywood star and power broker, Tom Hanks.  His co-stars were Peter Scolari(later of "Bob Newhart Show"), Wendie Jo Sperber and Donna Dixon.  Tom played Kip and his alter ego, Buffy, in drag alon with Peter Scolari's Henry and alter ego Hildegarde.  A funny show which included the late Wendy Jo Sperber who was very funny, and very talented.
Robert Wagner(formerlly of "It Takes a Thief") joined with Stefani Powers to star as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart in "Hart to Hart."  The Harts were rich super sleuths who operated their own detective agency, solving murders along with crimes of all sorts.  Their chauffeur was played by former blacklisted actor Lionel Stander.
A big budget hour long TV series based on the Arthur Hailey book of the same name, which was a land lubber version of "The Love Boat."  This time the "Hotel" staff were the regulars with a cast of guest stars each week.  Regulars included Anne Baxter(as the owner), James Brolin, Connie Sellecca, Heidi Bohay, Shari Belafonte, Shea Farrell and Nathan Cook, among others.
"Jack and Mike" was a short lived, but very hip young adult drama series with Shelly Hack as Mike and        starring as Jack, a Chicago working couple.  He a restaurateur and her, a newspaper feature columnist.  It aired during the 198    season.
"The ABC Sunday Night Movie" was a staple on Sunday nights and included major Hollywood blockbusters.  They included all of the James Bond series films, along with Patton, The Ten Commandments, and many others.

(Left) is a TV Guide ad for the mid day show which included the WAND News Director Dick Westbrook(right), the Promotions Director Mike Cheever(left) and Audrey Shimp.

(Top) WAND studios on Southside Drive in Decatur from sometime in the early 1980's

"The Greatest American Hero" starred William Katt, Connie Sellecca(pictured left), along with Robert Culp and others.  The theme became a hit song for Joey Scarury.

"Nightline" began in 1979 after the Iran Hostage Crisis and continues to this day.  The late night news program aired opposite "The Tonight Show" and during it's time was the only network news source after the 10PM(CT) news.

"The Ropers" was a spinoff of "Threes Company" and starred the original landlords played by Norman Fell and Audra Lindley.  It aired from 1979 to 1980.

(upper 3 left pictures): George Moyer with Dana Wadell from 1983.
(lower left pictures): George Moyer with Kim Sherwood from 1984.
(upper far right): Weekend anchors
Jeff Ruffner and Mike Vaughn.
(lower near right): Sports Director, Rick Zurak

Pictured above is long time WTVP and WAND weather caster Loren Boatman. 
 The poor quality of the pictures is because they were recorded off air from over 90 miles from their transmitter site.

(screen grabs of WAND from the Doug Quick collection)

(Left) is a promo graphic for the ABC daytime version of "Family Feud" with Richard Dawson.

(Right) is a promo graphic for the syndicated "Fame" based on the movie of the same name.  It aired Sunday's at 5PM on WAND.

This is an aircheck of WAND from 1985 and was taken during a
broadcast of "45/85" a production of ABC News looking at history
from the years 1945-85.  There's not much program content here, but it
skims the ABC Promos, WAND news ID/Promos and even an ABC
NewsBreak.  It was recorded from September of 1985.  Ernie Anderson
who voiced ABC Promos for years is prominently featured here.

When Loren Boatman passed away, WAND featured his video obit, years after his "retirement."  Keep in mind Boatman was the station's face and voice for over 35 years, having began with WTVP in 1953.  He was the constant in an industry which features a revolving door of anchors, sports anchors and reporters.  It appears that they had very little video of his work over the years, and only featured a short clip from the mid 80's with Kim Sherwood at the anchor desk, along with a piece of video from the 1978 ice storm which put WAND off of the air for several weeks.  This is a perfect example why local TV needs to keep more of it's heritage!  I probably have more video of Mr. Boatman than the TV station that employed him for over 35 years!  The only real video of Boatman was from a recent interview, and it wasn't all that compelling.  It's sad that his TV career was minimized by WAND to just a short package, and an anchor staff that didn't have any idea of his significance to the station they work for.
This video will be transferred to a future segment of the History of WAND when it's completed.

(above left): An ABC TV Guide Ad from September of 1985.

(above right): WAND carried select weekend Cub games
in 1985.

( left): WAND news tease from September of 1985.  A new
set.....?   I don't remember.....

(TV Guide ads from the Doug Quick collection)

thanks to Karen Barding for her contribution
thanks to Mike Cheever for his contribution
thanks to Bob Wilcott for the many pictures he has shared with this site
TV Guide, copyright Triangle Publications
Bob Lee for most of the network and syndicated screen grabs

Page 4 is next....

The History of WAND, Decatur, IL
  Page 1
The First 10 Years of Channel 17 as WTVP 1953-64
  Page 2
LIN Broadcasting and WTVP becomes WAND 1965-77
  Page 3
The Years of Rebuilding 1978-1985
  Page 4
The ABC Years 1986-2005
  Page 5
WAND Becomes an Affiliate of NBC, Digital Years 2005-present

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updated  11/27/2016
web master:  Doug Quick
copyright 2001-2016  Doug Quick