A Look Back at the MAB: The 70s

  • Michigan’s own James H. Quello (photo, right) begins his first term of four terms as an FCC Commissioner.
  • TV Advertising Takes a Hit – In the 1960s, warning labels started appearing on cigarette packs and in cigarette advertising. The cigarette companies and the government came to an accommodation in 1970, which called for the voluntary withdrawal from television and radio, effective January 2, 1971. Cigarette advertising accounted for a “double digit” share of television ad revenues. TV advertising suffered its first down year ever without revenues from one of its oldest and best customers, but television revenues turned up quickly and grew steadily throughout the rest of the 1970s.
  • Beginning in the 1970 season, ABC stations began carrying pro-football in prime time with the introduction of “Monday Night Football.” In 1971, CBS viewers got their first view of “reality” in Norman Lear’s situation comedy “All In the Family.” After the first program aired, the network experienced a deluge of criticism, so extra telephone operators were brought in to handle the calls. Less than three dozen such calls came in. The series prospered and TV drama changed forever. “Maude,” another reality situation comedy, followed in 1972.
  • America’s First Black-Owned TV Station – Channel 62 came on the air in Detroit in September 1975. The owners were a black fraternal organization, The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons. It carried programs targeting the black community that its limited financial assets allowed. Much to the amazement of most television people, the Masons operated it for three decades. It later was sold to CBS and renamed WWJ-TV.
  • In the early 1970’s, WXYZ-TV, Detroit, made a bold move into early morning programming with its “Morning Show.” That program did so well, that when the ABC network decided to go into what would later be called “Good Morning America,” it sent network program people to Detroit to study the WXYZ-TV program. Once the early morning network got underway, the “Morning Show” was moved to 9 a.m. where it was known by several names during its long run; for most of its time as “Kelly and Company,” hosted by John Kelly and his wife Marilyn Turner. In Grand Rapids, WOOD-TV followed the “Today Show” with an hour long conversation and variety show hosted by the station’s weatherman and, at the time West Michigan’s most popular local TV personality, Buck Matthews.
  • FM radio had been on the air in Detroit since 1941. There were 11 FM radio stations there by 1970. WOOD-FM, Grand Rapids, was the number one radio station in its market (AM or FM), but Lansing would be the standout Michigan market in FM, as the band steadily gained audience and by 1978 passed the listening audience of the AM band.
  • Tom Cleary oversees MAB operations (1969-1985).
  • January 14, 1970 – Specs Howard officially opens Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts.

MAB Call on Congress (circa 1975-76) – MAB members meet with Congressional Delegates in the Dolley Madison Room at the Madison Hotel in Washington, D.C.: