Joe Templeton, ABC News
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Thread: Joe Templeton, ABC News

  1. #1

    Joe Templeton, ABC News

    I was wondering how many people worked at radio stations that carried news from the ABC Information Network in the 80's and 90's. Does anyone remember the morning news anchor, Joe Templeton? I had such a fascination with him, mainly because of his deep voice and his rapid-fire delivery. I mean, he could rattle off news stories clearly and understandably, without stumbling. (Maybe that's why ABC gave him the morning slot on that network.) What used to bug me, though, is that all my program directors (as well as some of my listeners) used to chew me out considerably for reading my newscasts (or weather and community announcements) with much speed. I would get told time and time again that "You are not running a race. Slow the hell down!!" Yet, in my mind, I always wondered, "then how does someone like Joe Templeton manage to keep his job with an employer like ABC if rapid reading of news is so against the principles and ethics of announcing?" At any rate, I was sad when I tuned into a St. Louis radio station that carried Information and found he was no longer on there. He's been dead for over ten years now, but I'll never forget listening to him in my early days of radio and being fascinated by his delivery. Anyone else out here remember Joe?

  2. #2
    K.M. Richards
    I was programming (and doing morning drive) at a ABC/I affiliate when they made the big changes in 1980. Templeton taking over the morning newscasts was only part of the new network formula ... they also started using a remix of the ABC television "World News Tonight" theme as the top-of-hour sounder, renamed the 7:00am newscast "World News This Morning", and started all newscasts with "From ABC News, I'm (anchor)."

    Doesn't seem like much now, but that was the first time the letters "ABC" had been uttered on the radio network since January 1, 1968, which was when ABC split itself four ways and rechristened themselves as "American (name) Radio", the names being Information at :00, FM at :15, Entertainment* at :30, and Contemporary at :55.

    I also remember coming in that first Monday morning of the "new ABC Information Network" and hearing the closed-circuit feed announce that Templeton was out sick and that replacement anchors would be used that first morning. After all that hype.

    Templeton was kind enough to record a custom outro for our use which said "I'm Joe Templeton, ABC News ... now more music with K.M. Richards In The Morning". I misplaced that tape in one of the many moves I made between 1982 and 1994, sadly.

    He retired in 1996 and died in 2005.

    *-Unrelated trivia: When ABC first announced the plan to split four ways in 1967, Entertainment was going to be called "American Personality Radio", mainly because it was the official network for Don McNeill's Breakfast Club and Paul Harvey.

  3. #3
    "From ABC News..." just doesn't have the same ring as their original open: "News of the hour, on the hour, from American Information Radio."

    They did use the ABC name before that... at some point they tagged the casts (on all 4 nets) with "A service of ABC News."

    ABC/E's original open referred to "people and places in the news". It was the first one to become a generic "ABC News," maybe at the same time ABC/I changed?

  4. #4
    K.M. Richards
    Quote Originally Posted by JRH View Post
    "From ABC News..." just doesn't have the same ring as their original open: "News of the hour, on the hour, from American Information Radio."
    I'll admit that I did miss that opening.

    They did use the ABC name before that... at some point they tagged the casts (on all 4 nets) with "A service of ABC News."
    I seem to recall there always being a pause before that and a lot of stations likely did not air that tag, but I fuzzily remember it. In my home market, the ABC/I station took the cutaway at three (or was it 3?) minutes in. The ABC/E station used to run the :30 cast delayed at :55 and they cued past the intro; they also took the early cutaway "This is American Entertainment Radio". ABC/C's affiliate, running on a delay at :20, also took an early outcue.

    We only had an ABC/F affiliate for a couple of years, running delayed at :30. They bailed out when the focus shifted from "good music" stations to AORs, and went with Mutual. They probably didn't run the "ABC News" tag either.

    Side trivia: The former ABC/F station stayed with MBS until they were sold in 1977 and went from a MOR-ish AC to BM. I was there at the time and remember the arguments we had with MBS about whether or not we were still contractually obligated to continue clearing the spots, because the call letters and licensee had changed and our lawyers could find no provision for the affiliation to continue under those circumstances. We ended up recording both spots in every one of the 15 hours we were supposed to, then played them all between midnight and 5:00am (two per break at :15, :30 and :45) for about a month before MBS threw in the towel and cancelled the affiliation contract.

    ABC/E's original open referred to "people and places in the news". It was the first one to become a generic "ABC News," maybe at the same time ABC/I changed?
    Perhaps so. I wasn't terribly focused on them at the time. I believe the "people and places in the news" line disappeared long before the ABC branding was restored.

  5. #5
    I'm surprised airing network spots overnight (12am-5am) could fulfill your contract. I seem to remember network spots had to be cleared in the daypart in which they ran on the network news. I worked for an affiliate of ABC Contemporary many years ago. We weren't contemporary but I guess that was a legacy of when the station was Top 40 years earlier. We never aired the network news but we aired the spots during the right daypart. Being a low-rated AM station, that wasn't hard. Management kept the ABC network affiliation so we could air and sell Paul Harvey and Howard Cosell's sportscasts. We also ran Cosell's Speaking of Everything on Sundays. And I guess we collected a small fee as an affiliate.

    Anyway, why could Joel Templeton read the news fast but we, in our early careers couldn't? Well, partly it was because he and the ABC newsroom staff were better writers. If you write simple, direct, short sentences, you can read those faster than long run-on sentences. Also he was a better reader than we were, able to read faster but make it sound clear to the audience. And he had to fit in a lot of info in those few network minutes, between the intro, outcue and spot breaks.

    When a young newsperson asks me about their writing, I always say, write simple, easy sentences. And it's better to do a newscast with five three-sentence stories than three five-sentence stories. I used to listen to David Brinkley and marvel at how simplistic his sentences were. Here's this NBC and later ABC News legend. And yet his writing was simple, almost on a grade school level. But that was the hard part. Telling complex stories in grade school level language was a big part of his skill.
    Last edited by Gregg.; 10-27-2015 at 04:05 PM.

  6. #6
    K.M. Richards
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregg. View Post
    I'm surprised airing network spots overnight (12am-5am) could fulfill your contract.
    Oh, I'm 99.9999% certain it was either our management forcing the issue ("either sue us or release us from the affiliation") or some language was missing in the affiliation agreement that created a loophole. I do remember that we recorded the :30 newscast, which contained both spots, every hour, all day, and dubbed all the spots to three 10 minute carts for the automation to play (:15 would be carts A-B, :30 would be C-A, :45 B-C).

    Now that I think about it, we probably had a few breaks every night where the same spot played twice, as this was the era where Mutual seemed to have the Bulgaria tourism bureau spot in one of the avails two hours out of three (I don't think the network had 15 different clients, total). Not that we cared, under the circumstances. But if, for example, spot #1 in the 6:00am hour was the same as spot #1 in the 11:00am hour, they'd play together at 12:15am (A-B); ditto if #2 in the 6:00am hour was the same as #1 in the 4:00pm hour (both playing at 12:30am as C-A) or if #2 in 11:00am and #2 in 4:00pm matched (12:45am, B-C).

    I'm guessing Mutual was glad to be rid of us by the time it was all over.

  7. #7
    I remember Joe Templeton as anchor for WJZ-TV in Baltimore. He was impressive on camera and was backed by an outstanding local news department, back in the day when Group W stations were class acts. On the minus side, WJZ-TV (then an ABC affiliate, now a CBS O&O) preempted American Bandstand from Philly and carried its own Buddy Deane Show (the inspiration for the dance show in "Hairspray") because Bandstand was integrated. Blacks and Whites were in the studio but were not allowed to dance together WJZ-TV, on the other hand, was all-White except on alternate Fridays, when it was all-Black.

    I always wondered why Templeton went from a successful local TV anchor gig to network radio, which always seemed like a big step down. It certainly must have meant a cut in pay. At about the same time, Mort Crimm went in the other direction from ABC Radio to Louisville, Group W's KYW-TV in Philly and then WDIV in Detroit.

    Templeton passed away in 2005, according to DCRTV.

  8. #8
    O.K. I now have a question regarding ABC News. I rarely, if ever, listen to news/talk radio, but over the past several years, when I've tuned in, it appears that the ABC newscasts are shorter now than they used to be. For example, the Information network's newscasts were five minutes long. The announcer would read news for two minutes and then say, "You're listening to ABC News." Then there would be a 60-second commercial break, followed by 1:25 of more news, followed by the announcer saying "This is ABC News." Then a :30 would follow and the last five seconds would be the announcer saying, "I'm ________, ABC News." But for many years now, I've been hearing the radio station go to local commercials or local news once the ABC announcer says, "You're listening to ABC News," at 02:00. Has ABC shortened their newscasts to two minutes or are the radio stations just cutting out of the network at that point to go back to local programming?

  9. #9
    I don't think ABC has offered a 5 minute newscast for a few years. I forget which round of cuts it was when they eliminated that. Probably 2014 or '15.

    I think the "Information" network newscast is now 3 minutes.
    "Here's the Latest from ABC News" (news...1:50) Outcue: "This is ABC News" (news: 0:55) Outcue: "I'm Cheri Preston, ABC News"

    I think my local ABC station must clear the spot at some other time.
    "Its music what makes a radio station, and at Live FM, we play the last music around."
    After receiving that copy, I quit the VO industry.

  10. #10
    The 5 kw daytimer I worked for from 1979 to 1982 ran American Contemporary News at :30 past the hour......the one exception was 8:00 AM, when we ran Information News....
    I remember Gerri Hamilton being a "regular" on Contemporary....and IIRC Templeton did the 8 AM ET Information I recall, he was based in Washington......

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