Sunday, August 28, 2005

What I Was Watching - September 1969

A few days ago when I posted the picture of myself as a real "Child of TV" I got a comment from King Blowhard asking what percentage of American programs I watched as a kid as compared to American shows. I figured that the percentage was about 60/40 American but that was skewed a bit because the local channel was a CBC affiliate. The more I thought about it the more intrigued I got and so I decided to find out what I could.

I wasn't able to go much before 1969 - at least not yet - since 1969 is the earliest TV Guide that I have. It was in fact the 1969 Fall Preview issue but it still presented a few problems. For one thing there was no listing of the shows that the two Canadian networks, CBC and CTV, were running. In those days there was no specific "Canadian" TV Guide; the main pages were produced in the United States and the listings were produced in Canada, but they were just listings. As a result the breakdown of programming isn't what it would be for the regular season. This particular week - the week of September 13-19 - included two prime time CFL football games, a Montreal Expos baseball game and two news specials which wouldn't be on during the main part of the season.

I decided to look not just at the one local station but also two Winnipeg stations, one owned by the CBC and the other a CTV affiliate. I've also defined prime time as running from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. meaning that the week includes 35 hours of programming. British produced programming is defined as Canadian since at the time Canada's Board Of Broadcast Governors (the regulatory predecessor of the CRTC) described both French and British produced shows as Canadian. There are some cases where there's just no information of what was shown at a particular time of a particular night. With this in mind here are the results.


What accounts for the difference between the CBC owned station in Winnipeg and the CBC affiliate in Saskatoon? The regulations were - and still are - that the first station in a market has to be a CBC station even if it is privately owned. Until 1972 Saskatoon was a one station market (the CBC had plans to build a station in Saskatoon but these were halted by a couple of influential members of cabinet, one of whom had been the head of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, the private station owner's group which had and still has a tremendous hatred of the CBC). However privately owned affiliates had a certain amount of leeway as to how much of the CBC's programming they would air. It wasn't a huge difference but there were times when CFQC could put on a show of their own choosing. There were Canadian Content regulations in place but they only required about 55% Canadian Content total and nothing specific about prime time. Regulations on things like that would come later.

So what was I watching that week in September 1969? Let's see, there was My Three Sons and The Beverly Hillbillies on Saturday, Tommy Hunter (a Canadian country music show that would run a total of 27 years) and My World And Welcome To It on Sundays, a rerun of The Ghost And Mrs. Muir and The Name Of The Game on Mondays, The Bold Ones (this one with Burl Ives) on Tuesday, an Expos game and a Dionne Warwick special on Wednesday, The Johnny Cash Show, The Doris Day Show, and The Bill Cosby Show Thursday, and Julia (with Diahann Carroll) and Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. What wasn't I seeing? Well among the series debuting that September some of the memorable ones which weren't immediately available in the Saskatoon market were Medical Center, Room 222, and something called The Brady Bunch. On the other hand I also never saw such wonderful programming as The Survivors with Lana Turner, or The New People which seems to have been Lost 35 years before Lost. And of course who could forget Jimmy Durante Presents The Lennon Sisters Hour? Well just about everyone apparently.

This has been fun and I think I might delve into other years if I can find the time to do the research.

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