Action News

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Action News is a local television newscast format in the United States. First conceived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it is characterized by a tight format with strict time limits on set packages, a focus on surrounding suburbs, and a focus on young talent. It was a competitor to the "Eyewitness News" format.

History[edit]

The "Action News" format was conceived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV) by news director Mel Kampmann in 1970 as a response to the "Eyewitness News" format that was used on rival station KYW-TV. At this time, WFIL-TV was said to be "#4 in a three-station market."[citation needed]

The main difference between Action News and Eyewitness News was that the former was far more tightly formatted. Time limits were placed on packages – for instance, a reporter package could be no longer than 90 seconds. This difference enabled the station to cover more stories than its competitors. Another key difference was the focus on the surrounding Philadelphia suburban areas – a response to the movement of residents from the city to the suburbs. Finally, WPVI placed more emphasis on young talent – while WCAU-TV and KYW-TV used older, respected news anchors such as Vince Leonard, Tom Snyder, and John Facenda, WPVI had a young Larry Kane as its top anchor. Later, the station would add the very popular Jim O'Brien as its main weathercaster.[citation needed]

The format was immediately successful, and after going back and forth with KYW for first place, WPVI took the lead in 1977 which it has held ever since. Capital Cities Communications, WPVI's owner at the time, took the format to most of its other stations.[citation needed]

One of the major development stations for WPVI's Action News was its Capital Cities sister station, WKBW-TV in Buffalo, New York. Under the leadership of news director Irv Weinstein, who had developed his own similar format under the name Eyewitness News (and before that, Pulse Beat News and Rock and Roll Radio News), WKBW developed much of the talent that WPVI would later hire to boost them to #1 in the market; anchor Jim Gardner (replacing Larry Kane when he moved to WABC in New York), weatherman Dave Roberts, and iconic voice-over artist Jeff Kaye are the three highest-profile WPVI personalities to have come from WKBW.[citation needed]

WPIX in New York City, an independent station at the time, picked up the Action News concept (and music) successfully for its 10 p.m. newscast. The newscast won numerous awards, but the station never approached the ratings of longtime leader WNEW-TV (now WNYW).[citation needed]

In 2002 and 2003 (respectively), WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida and KSHB-TV in Kansas City, Missouri (both owned by the E. W. Scripps Company) became the first stations in the country to identify themselves with the Action News as a full-time station branding (for both local newscasts and entertainment programming) with no station number.[citation needed]

Today, Action News is usually nothing more than a name, since its innovations have been incorporated into newscasts across the country. The name is found on fewer stations than Eyewitness News. Even WPVI, which continues to use the name Action News, has modified its news presentation to one more closely resembling Eyewitness News on KYW-TV.[citation needed]

Outside the United States, the Action News title was used by the following television stations:[citation needed]

Theme[edit]

WFIL adopted the Action News format in 1970. Originally the program was introduced with a brass band theme written by Temple University student Tom Sellers. The entire theme was offered through the Philadelphia Inquirer, as a single sided 45 RPM record for about 25¢. Two years later, the station (under its new call sign WPVI) replaced "The Action News Theme" with Al Ham's "Move Closer to Your World".[1][2]

WPVI continues to use this theme after four decades, even as others have stopped using it, although it has been remastered several times (which have included the removal of a bongo line) in order for the theme sound less dated. In 1996, the station replaced the original Al Ham theme with a fuller, orchestral version performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Viewer outcry caused the station to drop the new version within five days. "Move Closer to Your World" is probably the only news theme to be offered as a ringtone, which is offered by WPVI free of charge.[citation needed]

Action News offered the first evening newscasts to be solo anchored by a woman: Diana Robinson, who was the first African-American female news anchor in American television. She was followed by Jacqui Mullen.[citation needed]

WPVI opens its broadcasts with a rapid montage featuring scenes of Philadelphia-area activities. The scenes are rotated to reflect the current season. For example, spring footage of the Phillies, NASCAR, CART and DIRT starts on March 21, while footage of the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers, and 76ers starts on September 23, and footage of the Mummers Parade with other winter scenes is shown from December 21 to March 21.[citation needed]

Although "Move Closer to Your World" is strongly associated with the Action News format, many stations that have used the "Action News" name actually chose to use other pieces of music for their newscasts. Conversely, stations that use "Move Closer to Your World" do not necessarily use the "Action News" name or format. WNEP-TV in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania used the original version of the theme for many years before switching to a modern variation which only partially resembles the original.[citation needed]

Stations that use or have used the Action News format or name[edit]

DMA# DMA Name Station Affiliation Currently Uses Other Notes
1. New York City WPIX The CW No Used as an Independent station from 1974 to 1984; station currently brands its newscast as "PIX 11 News"
2. Los Angeles KCBS-TV CBS No Used from 1989–1997, has identified as "CBS 2 News" from 1997–present, and "CBS 2 NewsCentral" from September–January 2010
3. Chicago WBBM-TV CBS No Used briefly in the early 1970s, newscasts are now branded as "CBS 2 News"
4. Philadelphia WPVI-TV ABC Yes Originator of the "Action News" format on April 6, 1970
WPHL-TV MyNetworkTV Yes WPVI-produced broadcasts on WPHL are branded as "Action News @10 on PHL17"
5. San Jose/S.F./Oakland, California KICU-TV Independent No Newscast defunct, station formerly referred to itself as "Action 36"
KTVU-TV Fox No Used from 1971 to the early 1980s. Newscasts are now branded as "KTVU Channel 2 News".
6. Dallas/Fort Worth KXAS-TV NBC No Used from 1979–1984, its years of using Move Closer to Your World; has identified as "NBC 5 News" since 1999
9. Atlanta WSB-TV ABC (formerly NBC) Yes Identified as Action News from 1972–1988, has identified as "Channel 2 Action News" since 1988. The station's newscasts still remain very fast paced, keeping some aspects of the Action News format today.
11. Detroit WXYZ-TV ABC Yes Used since 1972; currently identifies as "Channel 7 Action News"
12. Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida WFTS-TV ABC Yes Has identified as "ABC Action News" since 2002
WTSP CBS, formerly ABC No Identified as "Action NewsCenter" in 1977, then as "Action 10 News" from 1978 to 1979, and finally as "Action News" from 1979 to 1989. Currently identifies as "10 News"
13. Phoenix, Arizona KPNX NBC No Used during the 1980s; has identified as "12 News" since 1992, and "12 News in HD" since November 2006.
15. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota WCCO-TV CBS No Used during the early 1970s;[3] now identifies as "WCCO News"
16. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida WFOR-TV (formerly WCIX-TV) CBS No Used from 1989–1995; has identified as "South Florida's CBS 4 News" since 1999
17. Cleveland, Ohio WOIO CBS Yes Has identified as "19 Action News" since 2002, produces "19 Action News at 10" for WUAB
WKYC-TV NBC No Used from 1974–1984; has identified as "Channel 3 News" since 1984; unrelated to WOIO
18. Denver, Colorado KWGN-TV The CW No Used from 1977–1983; has identified as "Channel 2 News" since June 2010
19. Orlando WRDQ Independent No Newscast produced by WFTV was rebranded to Eyewitness News.
20. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, California KOVR CBS (formerly ABC) No Used as an ABC affiliate in the 1970s; has identified as "CBS 13 News" since 2005
KMAX-TV The CW (formerly UPN, WB and independent) No Used in the 1990s; formerly unrelated to KOVR
21. St. Louis KTVI Fox, formerly ABC No Used during the early and mid-1970s; has identified as "Fox 2 News" since 1995
22. Pittsburgh WTAE-TV ABC Yes Used in 1970s–1989; Brought back again in 1995 as "Channel 4 Action News". One of the few that used the name to put emphasis on investigative reporting, with the slogan being "Taking Action For You."
24. Baltimore WBAL-TV NBC (formerly CBS) No Identified as "Action News" from 1973–1985, has identified as "11 News" since 1995
26. Charlotte WAXN-TV Independent No Produced by WSOC-TV; newscasts are now branded as "Eyewitness News"
WCNC-TV (formerly WPCQ-TV) NBC No Identified as "Carolina's NewsChannel 36" from 2008-2012, has identified as "NBC Charlotte News" since 2012; unrelated to WAXN/WSOC
27. San Diego KFMB-TV CBS No Used briefly in the 1970s; title was followed by the current year à la Match Game (i.e., "Action News '75"); has identified as News 8 since 1996
28. Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut WTNH ABC No Used from 1984–1996; has identified as "News 8" since 2010; former sister station of WPVI
29. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina WRAL-TV CBS, formerly ABC No Used during the 1970s and 1980s; Sister station of Fox affiliate WRAZ. Has identified as "WRAL News" since 2003.
31. Kansas City KSHB-TV NBC Yes Identified as "NBC Action News" from 2003-2012; has identified as "41 Action News" since early 2012, after the station rebranded.
WDAF-TV Fox, formerly NBC No Used from 1974–1990; has identified as "Fox 4 News" since 1997; unrelated to KSHB
32. Columbus, Ohio WSYX (formerly WTVN-TV) ABC No Used as WTVN; has identified as "ABC 6 News" since 2006
33. Cincinnati WLWT NBC No Used from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s; has identified as "News 5" since 2004
34. Milwaukee WISN-TV ABC, formerly CBS No Used from 1976 (when it was still a CBS affiliate) to 1985; has identified as "12 News" since 2003, though the station's consumer news/investigation segments continue to be called "Action 12".
36. Greenville WYFF Formerly WFBC-TV NBC No Used from 1975–1981; has identified as "WYFF News 4" since 1996
38. West Palm Beach, Florida WPTV-TV NBC No Used in the 1980s and early 1990s; has identified as "NewsChannel 5" since 1993
40. Birmingham, Alabama WVTM-TV NBC No Used in the 1970s; identified as "NBC 13 News" until 2010; currently identified as "Alabama's 13 News"
WIAT CBS No Used in the 1980s and 1990s; currently identifies as "CBS 42 News"; unrelated to WVTM
41. Harrisburg/York/Lancaster, Pennsylvania WLYH-TV The CW (formerly CBS) No Used as a CBS affiliate; currently identifies as "CBS 21 News at Ten on The CW 15"
43. Las Vegas KTNV ABC Yes Has identified as "Channel 13 Action News" since 2003
44. Memphis, Tennessee WMC-TV NBC Yes Has identified as "Action News 5" since 1983
45. Albuquerque/Santa Fe, New Mexico KOAT-TV ABC Yes Has identified itself as "Action 7 News" since 1989
48. Louisville, Kentucky WHAS-TV ABC, formerly CBS No Used from the mid-1970s to when it switched from CBS to ABC; has identified as "WHAS 11 News" since 1991
50. Jacksonville, Florida WTLV NBC No Used during the mid- and late 1970s; currently identifies as "First Coast News"
WTEV CBS Yes Rebranded to title in April 2009, with sister station WAWS.
WAWS Fox Yes Rebranded to title in April 2009, with sister station WTEV.
51. Providence, Rhode Island/New Bedford, Massachusetts WLNE-TV ABC, formerly CBS No Used during its CBS days; has identified as "ABC 6 News" since 1995
52. Austin, Texas KVUE ABC No Used from 1978–1997; has identified as "KVUE News" since 2001
53. Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania WYOU CBS No Used circa 1999-2001; station ended its newscasts on April 3, 2009; newscasts have been branded as "Eyewitness News" after sister station WBRE began producing its newscasts in 2012
WNEP ABC No Has never been known as "Action News," but has used "Move Closer to Your World" theme for several years
55. Fresno/Visalia/Merced, California KFSN-TV ABC (formerly CBS) Yes Has identified as "ABC 30 Action News" since 1994, but uses the "Eyewitness News" format of KABC and KGO; title began on September 14, 1970
56. Albany, New York WTEN ABC, formerly CBS No Used during its first few years as an ABC affiliate; has identified as "News 10" since 1995
57. Little Rock, Arkansas KTHV CBS No Newscast name used before its purchase by Gannett; Currently identifies as "Today's THV"
59. Mobile, Alabama/Pensacola, Florida WALA-TV Fox (formerly NBC) No Used from 1990 to 1997; currently identifies as "Fox 10 News"
60. Knoxville, Tennessee WBIR-TV NBC No Used "Action 10 News" from 1970–1974 and 1978–April 2004; has identified as "10 News" since April 2004
63. Lexington, Kentucky WLEX-TV NBC No Used in the 1970s, 1980s, and the mid-late 1990s; has identified as "LEX 18 News" since 2000
WTVQ-TV ABC No Identified as "Action News 36" from 2004–2009, identified as "ABC 36 News" since 2009.
65. Huntington/Charleston, West Virginia WOWK-TV CBS (formerly ABC) No Used from its ABC days and with CBS up to 1993; currently identifies as "13 News"
68. Roanoke, Virginia/Lynchburg, Virginia WSLS-TV NBC No Used during the 1980s. Has identified as "WSLS 10 On Your Side" since 2006
69. Green Bay, Wisconsin WBAY-TV ABC (formerly CBS) Yes Has identified as "Action 2 News" since 1992
70. Honolulu, Hawaii KHON-TV Fox (formerly NBC) No Used "Action 2 News" from 1979 to 1982; has identified as "KHON2 News" since 2003
71. Toledo, Ohio WTVG ABC Yes Identified as "13 Action News" until 2006, identified as "13 ABC Action News" since 2006; also known to use the "Eyewitness News" format
75. Omaha, Nebraska KMTV CBS Yes Newscasts have been branded as "Action 3 News" since 2006
76. Springfield, Missouri KYTV NBC No Used from 1974 to 1993, as "KY3 Action News"; has identified as "KY3 News" since 1997
77. Lewiston, Idaho KLEW-TV CBS Yes Has identified as KLEW Action News since 2008. The station is part of the Spokane, Washington market, but does not serve as the Spokane metro area's CBS affiliate; it is served by KREM-TV.
79. Syracuse, New York WSTM-TV NBC No Identifies as "NBC 3 News"
81. Shreveport, Louisiana KTBS-TV ABC No Used during the 1980s; Currently identifies as "KTBS 3 News"
84. Huntsville, Alabama WHNT-TV CBS No Used in the 1970s and 1980s, currently identifies as "NewsChannel 19"
85. Madison, Wisconsin WISC-TV CBS No Used in the 1970s; has identified as "News 3" since 2001
86. Chattanooga, Tennessee WTVC ABC No Used throughout the 1970s 1980s and early 1990s; has identified as "NewsChannel 9" since 1995
87. Jackson, Mississippi WAPT-TV ABC No Used during the 1970s; has identified as "16 WAPT News" since 1999
89. Cedar Rapids, Iowa KGAN CBS No Used as WMT-TV; has identified as "CBS 2 News" since 2004
91. Rio Grande Valley, Texas KGBT CBS Yes Previously identified as "Team 4 News"
96. Rock Island, Illinois/Davenport, Iowa (Quad Cities) WHBF-TV CBS No Used during the 1980s; currently identifies as "CBS 4 News"
97. Savannah, Georgia WJCL ABC No Used from 1972–1996; currently identifies as "WJCL News"
98. Altoona/Johnstown, Pennsylvania WTAJ-TV CBS No Used during the 1980s; currently identifies as "WTAJ News"
99. El Paso, Texas KDBC-TV CBS No Used in the 1990s; has identified as "KDBC 4 News" since 2004
100. Charleston, South Carolina WCBD-TV NBC formerly ABC No Used as an ABC affiliate; has identified as "News 2" since 1998
103. Youngstown, Ohio WFMJ-TV NBC No Used from 1970s-2005; has identified as "21 News" since 2005
105. Florence/Myrtle Beach, South Carolina WPDE-TV ABC No Used from 1986–1993; has identified as "WPDE NewsChannel 15" since 1993
108. Tallahassee, Florida WTXL-TV ABC No Used in the 1990s; has identified as "ABC 27 News" since 2006
112. Lansing, Michigan WILX-TV NBC No Used during the 1970s and 1980s. Currently identifies as "News 10"
114. Augusta, Georgia WRDW-TV CBS No Used from the late 1960s to the late 1970s; has identified as "News12" since 1998
WAGT NBC No Used from the 1990s-2003; currently identifies as "NBC Augusta"
115. Sioux Falls, South Dakota KSFY-TV ABC No Identified as "KSFY Action News" from September 2008 to 2011; currently identifies as "KSFY News"
116. Peoria, Illinois WMBD-TV CBS No Used from the early to late 1970s; has identified as "WMBD 31 News" since 2007
117. Montgomery/Selma, Alabama WAKA CBS No Used in the 1980s, currently identifies as "CBS 8 News"
120. Santa Barbara, California KEYT-TV ABC No Identified as "Action News" from 1977-1984; has identified as "NewsChannel 3" since 2013
122. San Luis Obispo, California KSBY NBC No Originally Identified itself as "Action 6 News" (1970s-early 1980s), "6 Action News" (late 1980s-2007) and "KSBY 6 Action News" (2007–2010) and was a sister station of KSBW, which also uses the "Action News" format. Currently identifies as "KSBY 6 News" as of 2010.
124. Lafayette, Louisiana KATC ABC No Used in the 1980s and 1990s; currently identifies as "TV-3 News"
125. Salinas/Monterey, California KSBW NBC Yes Identified as "Action News 8" since 1987
126. Yakima/Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, WA KIMA-TV / KEPR-TV CBS Yes Formerly NewsWatch. Has identified as Action News since 2007.
127. La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wisconsin WKBT CBS No Identified as "Action 8 News" from 1976 to 1987; currently identifies as "News 8"
128. Columbus, Georgia WTVM ABC No Identified as Action 9 News from the late 1960s to 1992; then identified as THE News Leader; has identified as "WTVM News Leader 9" since 1996
129. Corpus Christi, Texas KZTV CBS Yes Has identified as "Action 10 News" since 2004
130. Redding/Red Bluff/Chico, California KHSL-TV CBS Yes Merged with KNVN to form NCN in 2001 to be later renamed as "Action News"
KNVN NBC Yes Merged with KHSL after having lowest ratings out of all three of the area's news stations and to not waste money on a failing station
131. Amarillo, Texas KAMR-TV NBC No Used in the 1980s; has identified as "NBC 4 News" since 2002
133. Rockford, Illinois WIFR CBS No Used from the 1980s. Has identified as "23 News" since 2003
142. Erie, Pennsylvania WJET-TV ABC Yes Identified as "Action News 24" since 1995
146. Lawton, Oklahoma/Wichita Falls, Texas KSWO-TV ABC No Identified as "Action 7 News" 1979-1996, has identified as "7 News" since 1998
151. Terre Haute, Indiana WTHI-TV CBS No Started as "Action 10 News" in 1985 and later became "Action 10 News WTHI." Became "News 10" in 2006.
157. Binghamton, New York WBNG-TV CBS Yes The newscast has been called "Action News" since the station's inception in the 1950s.
163. Idaho Falls/Pocatello, Idaho KIDK (formerly KID-TV) CBS No Used during the mid-1970s
164. Abilene/Sweetwater, Texas KTXS-TV ABC No Used during the early 1980s; currently identifies as "KTXS News 12"
166. Clarksburg, West Virginia WDTV CBS No Used in the early 1970s as "Action News Central"
177. Rapid City, South Dakota KEVN-TV Fox (formerly NBC) No Used from 1976 to 1995; currently identifies as "Black Hills Fox News"
179. Alexandria, Louisiana KLAX-TV ABC No Used until its news department were shut down; newscast no longer exists
181. Harrisonburg, Virginia WHSV-TV ABC No Used from 1977–1984; currently identifies as "WHSV News 3"
189. Eureka KVIQ-TV CBS No Title of now defunct operation
208. Alpena, Michigan WBKB-TV CBS No Used from 1980-2004: currently identifies as "Channel 11 News"
208. Buffalo, New York WKBW-TV ABC No Never used the "Action News" title but used its news format, station calls itself "Channel 7 Eyewitness News"
N/A Kitchener, Ontario CKCO-DT CTV No Used in the 1980s and 1990s
N/A Calgary, Alberta WNET-HD Independent Yes Used from 2000 to present, also in Santa Barbara, currently identifies as "WestNet-HD Action News"

Action News in popular culture[edit]

  • In an early episode of The Simpsons, a local station is shown using the Action News branding plus a similar intro – but portrays the show as having more action and explosions instead of being faster paced.
  • In Ray Stevens' 1974 hit "The Streak", he plays an "Action News reporter" on the scene of three different streaking events, every time interviewing the same person (also played by Stevens) who keeps warning his wife, "Ethel", not to look – "but it's too late." At the end of the piece, the streaker is joined by "Ethel", much to the husband's horror.
  • In the South Park episode "Quest for Ratings", the kids change the name of their school news program from "Super School News" to "Sexy Action School News" and add other outrageous elements in an attempt to get higher ratings from their rival program.
  • The 2004 comedy film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy parodies 1970s culture, particularly Action News.
  • The comic strip This Modern World, by "Tom Tomorrow," regularly depicts reporters from "Action McNews."
  • DJ Sega from the Philadelphia-based record label Mad Decent created a dance remix of the Action News intro song.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Philadelphia". TV News Themes. 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-04-17. 
  2. ^ "The Action News Theme". SouthernMedia News Music Search Archive. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  3. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-QMxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=e-EFAAAAIBAJ&pg=711,100931&dq=action-news&hl=en

External links[edit]