Does local TV matter anymore?


On the way down US 75 to Jenks for my son's T-ball game, I directed his attention up Lookout Mountain to the KTUL Channel 8 studios. "That's a TV station up there." Trying to find a way to explain the significance, I asked my wife, "Does he watch anything on Channel 8?" "We see bits of the news, sometimes."

Thirty-five years ago, the Channel 8 studios on Lookout Mountain meant something to Tulsa's six-year-olds. That's where you went to be on "Mr Zing and Tuffy" or "Uncle Zeb's Cartoon Camp". It's where you wrote to get an autographed Gusty cartoon by weatherman Don Woods. Lookout Mountain meant something to local musicians too, who appeared on John Chick's morning show, and to the many fans of Mazeppa's Uncanny Film Festival. It wasn't just that these programs were entertaining or informative, it was that you or someone you knew might be on the air. Stations like KTUL were woven tightly into local culture.

That connection is gone -- my son watches Animal Planet, PBS, Disney, and HGTV. He's probably seen more TV reporters in person, at the various political events we attend, than he has on TV.

If you want to relive a time when locally-owned TV (and radio) stations reflected and contributed to local popular culture, check out Mike Ransom's wonderful Tulsa TV Memories website.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 8, 2003 12:35 AM.

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