WJZ’s “Evening Magazine”

eveningDuring the summer of 1976, a San Francisco CBS affiliate station (KPIX) owned by Westinghouse Broadcasting (AKA Group W), premiered a local weeknight television news and entertainment series titled “Evening: The MTWTF Show”, eventually christened “Evening Magazine”. The show was designed to add a local focus to news.  This show was created in reaction to the FCC’s newly enacted “Prime Time Access Rule” to give back the half-hour preceding primetime to local stations. The rule prohibited these stations from accepting network programming for that particular time slot.

“Evening Magazine” was one of the first television shows to begin the trend of shooting on videotape rather than 16mm film. The production called for the local hosts to have on-location wraparounds (a narrative bridge between segments in a program) and to tell short stories about ordinary and everyday people. As the show gained popularity, the other Group W owned stations around the country created their own “Evening Magazine” shows, including WJZ-TV in Baltimore, first broadcasting their version in the fall of 1977. WJZ made a video in 1984 that “looks back” on the previous 8 years of “Evening Magazine”. 

With even more success, Group W decided to syndicate the show format to other markets. The first that was interested in producing their own “Evening Magazine” was KING-TV in Seattle, but they already had a program on the air called “Evening Magazine”. In response, Group W came up with another title that could be cleared: “PM Magazine”. Group W Productions created a large production office in San Francisco to watch all of the stories being produced by the new local “PM” and “Evening Magazine” stations. They would take these stories and create a weekly “national reel” for stations to run in local markets. Depending on local station budgets, the station, such as WJZ-TV, could produce as much feature material as they could afford, yet still be considered a “locally produced” TV news show. However as far as we can tell from what has been digitized so far and from the inventory, WJZ-TV produced a lot of content on their own.

The WJZ-TV Collection has approximately 6,500 audiovisual items that are labelled as “Evening Magazine” (or “PM Magazine”), dating from 1977 through 1991. So we aren’t going to to provide the full inventory in this blog post. However, we are working on a searchable catalog of our inventories to be available to the public soon. Donate here to help us make this happen quickly!

In lieu of the inventory, please watch the first tape digitized from the first box of the “Evening Magazine” series which includes an interview with Brooks Robinson on his career with the Baltimore Orioles and his retirement.


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