The courtship of NBC by the Hearld-Traveler

Doug Drown
Sat Jun 20 14:27:03 EDT 2009

My gosh, have YOU brought back an obscure memory!  I remember The Ruff and 
Reddy Show, I remember Captain Bob being the host, and at the age of eight I 
couldn't figure out why NBC would be carrying a show that apparently was 
produced by an ABC affiliate.  I also recall The Tonight Show being carried 
by channel 5 (did it broadcast the initial fifteen-minute segment that began 
at 11:15, or wait till 11:30?  When Carson later switched to channel 4, the 
show didn't begin until 11:30).

I knew that the H-T had purchased state-of-the-art RCA equipment when it 
built the channel 5 studios, but hadn't realized that there were other 
things going on behind the scenes.   The whole story of NBC and its 1956-64 
dealings with Westinghouse is an interesting tale --- how KYW got moved from 
Philly to Cleveland and then back, how at one point WBZ-TV and WNAC-TV were 
going to do a network switch that wound up not happening almost at one 
minute to midnight . . . What was NBC's original gripe against Westinghouse, 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kevin Vahey" <>
To: "(newsgroup) Boston-Radio-Interest" 
Sent: Saturday, June 20, 2009 10:36 AM
Subject: The courtship of NBC by the Hearld-Traveler

> Before Bozo WHDH-TV had another show for kids hosted by the late
> Captain Bob Cottle.
> But he also became a pawn in a game between NBC, Westinghouse and the
> Herald-Traveler.
> Cottle in 1958-9 hosted a Saturday morning show on NBC that was fed
> live to the network from Morrisey Blvd. It was The Ruff and Reddy Show
> hosted by Cottle and what made it unusual was that the show came from
> Boston and not from a NBC affilate. It was the first time NBC had ever
> done this and to get NABET New York to agree to let IBEW Boston cover
> a show was a major hurdle.
> My Dad told me that the H-T coveted NBC and the peacock was so fed up
> with Westinghouse they were exploring options. The Herald spent a
> fortune being one of the first built from scratch all color studios
> and spent millions with RCA for equipment to curry favor. WHDH-TV
> would clear any NBC show that channel 4 passed on most notably The
> Tonight Show.
> Of course WHDH finally became CBS a couple of years later and NBC did
> sniff at channel 7 as a possible O&O.
> But you have to wonder how things might have changed had NBC moved to
> 5. My Dad said it would have happened except NBC was worried about the
> H-T's license status and for good reason.
> In any event Ruff and Reddy with Captain Bob remains one of the few
> network shows ever to be produced in Boston (not counting WGBH)

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