For The Next Six Minutes, It’s 1984 Again and You’re Watching Channel 3
Long before NewsChannel 3, it was WKZO in Kalamazoo. Watch this six minutes from 1984, with a "Where's the Beef?" commercial, a Hee Haw Station ID, and a NewsActive 3 promo.
Where were you in 1984? Wherever it was, you had to be within earshot of Van Halen's "Jump" or "When Doves Cry" by Prince- radio played both of those songs to death that year. Of course, there was Michael Jackson's Thriller and the Pepsi commercial gone wrong. Footloose, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Terminator, and Sixteen Candles are just a few of the generation-defining films that came out in this landmark year. On television, it was Knight Rider, Family Ties, and Hill Street Blues that got high marks and a nation's eyeballs.
In 1984, there were many fewer screens, as the internet was still ten years away. Entertainment and news were more homogenous, with only 4 major television networks, and even those have gone through changes since then. Take a look at this 1984 footage from Kalamazoo's Channel 3 in 1984, uploaded to YouTube and travel back in time.
The CBS affiliate was then owned by Kalamazoo icon John Fetzer under the call letters WKZO. The "W" was standard for broadcast television and radio stations East of the Mississippi and the "KZO" obviously stands for "Kalamazoo." The following year, Fetzer would sell it and the call letters were changed to WWMT for "We're West Michigan Television."
Many of the most well-known names hadn't begun their careers in southwest Michigan yet, with Judy Markee's 22-year career starting in 1989, the same year a young weatherman named Keith Thompson was hired. Halfway through this 1984 video, you'll see a promo for NewsActive 3, hosted by an anchor whose name I feel like I should know, but can't recall.
The TV Show Promos
Who thought giving Richard Pryor a kid's show was a good idea? Despite a guest appearance by a post-Mork & Mindy Robin Williams, Pryor's Place lasted only one season on CBS.
Muppet Babies also made their Saturday morning debut this year and lasted considerably longer.
The first pick in the NBA draft that year was Hakeem Olajuwon, and his Houston Rockets were taking on the Dallas Mavericks in CBS Sports' basketball.
These are what you will remember. The latest Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" ad is here with Clara Peller hot-rodding around town looking for a burger to satisfy her. Ronald McDonald is joined by Grimace and an animated Happy Meal in another fast-food commercial. Local favorite Kellogg's piggybacks a Frosted Flakes commercial after one featuring Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
The Montgomery Ward (RIP) advertisement may be the most nostalgic of the bunch. Remember their store at Maple Hill Mall? Remember Maple Hill Mall? Bubble Yum is the most totally '80s commercial maybe ever. This ad for the wacky fruit flavor chewing gum could have been the latest Cars video.
I still say music is the best time machine we have, but this six minutes of WKZO, Channel 3 from October 26, 1984 is, like, a totally rad trip.
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