Guide to the WTAE-TV Newsfilm Collection, April 1962-December 1976 AIS.2015.13

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections
WTAE-TV News Film Collection
WTAE-TV (Television station : Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Collection Number
April 1962-December 1976
7763.0 items
The WTAE-TV News Film Collection contains 7,763 film cans documenting daily news stories, special events, sports, and special programming as covered by WTAE-TV between April 1962 and December 1976 including footage of popular shows such as The Black Chronicle and  AM Pittsburgh.

Preferred Citation

WTAE-TV News Film Collection, 1962-1976, AIS.2015.13, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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WTAE-TV was founded in July 1957 after the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) lifted its freeze on awarding new channels to the Pittsburgh area. Originally, WTAE was set to launch out of Irwin, Westmoreland County, however, the FCC soon changed its mind moving the station to a location near Pittsburgh after petitioning from Pittsburgh Mayor, David L. Lawrence. It was not until September 14,1958 that WTAE-TV completed its broadcast as a small local news station.

At its founding WTAE-TV, was originally granted to the owners of KQV Radio, Hearst fought for a share of the small station, eventually being granted it after two separate hearings on the matter. In 1962 Hearst bought the remaining fifty percent of WTAE. WTAE-TV is now the only Pittsburgh television station to be affiliated with a major network corporation and stay under the same ownership for the entirety of their history.

Starting small, WTAE-TV had to work its way to the top of the corporate ladder. Before the news coverage was the thing to talk about for WTAE-TV it was more known for its television series, one in particular being Shock Theatre, a monster movie television series airing from 1958 until the early 1960s. Guided by the success of their children’s shows such as  Ricki and Copper which aired from 1959 to 1969 and  Romper Room which aired daily between 1960 and 1976, WTAE-TV soon became a major news station for the Pittsburgh area. It was not until talk shows like  AM Pittsburgh and  The Jean Connelly Show, both morning broadcast series, launched on the air did WTAE truly begin to gain credibility. WTAE also included programming such game shows with its popular  Dialing for Dollars airing at 10:30 AM and hosted by, Nick Perry ,  Championship Bowling, and  Bowling for Dollars.

WTAE-TV is an ABC affiliate running subchannels 4.1 ABC and 4.2 This-TV.

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Scope and Content Notes

The WTAE-TV News Film Collection contains 7,763 fill cans documenting daily news stories, special events, sports, and special programming as covered by WTAE-TV between April 1962 and December 1976. The content contains aired footage and reels identified as "Airshows", “B-Roll”, “C-Roll”, and “Scraps”. Several WTAE-produced programs are also included. Among these shows are The Jean Connelly Show,  AM Pittsburgh, and  The Black Chronicle.  The Jean Connelly Showfocused on the female audience and aired every Monday through Friday at 10:00 AM from 1959 to 1970. Connelly shared the distinction of being host and producer of the series as well as the first woman from Western Pennsylvania to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Broadcasters Hall of Fame (2002).  AM Pittsburgh began in 1970 and aired until 1983. The show was a mix between a talk show and a news broadcast. AM Pittsburgh was hosted by Lynn Hinds, Al McDowell, father of WDVE radio personality Sean McDowell, and Cathy Milton. Hosting duties were split with Hinds serving as the main in-studio host and some in-the-field stories. McDowell was responsible for street reporting and was known for his sense of humor. Milton was more of the analyst on the show providing commentary. The show ran Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM and included notable guests and a segment called Quiz Questions. The show was the top rated morning talk show, and one of the first of its kind in the nation. Cathy Milton later went on to host her own show,  The Black Chronicle. This once a week program lasted 30-minutes and ran throughout the 1970s covering the activities of Pittsburgh’s black community. The show was nominated for a Peabody Award in 1971 though it did not win. Cathy Milton was a former street reporter, show co-host, and news anchor before becoming the host and co-producer of  The Black Chronicle. She was the longest on-air female broadcaster in the Pittsburgh area. Additionally, she was an equal rights activist and keynote speaker at Pittsburgh’s NAACP convention.

The collection is rich with Pittsburgh stories. Among the standouts are Lyndon B. Johnson's 1966 visit to Doylestown, Pa., to speak at the dedication of the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, footage of local civil rights activist Bouie Haden, interviews and footage of Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, Hornets, and Pitt Panther games among other sports-related footage.

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Film is arranged chronologically by air date.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, August 2016

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
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Access Restrictions

No restrictions. Researchers wishing to view the news film should make arrangements with the archives prior to their visit.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection. All copyrights are held by the Hearst Corporation and permission must be sought prior to use.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Hearst Communications on July 2015.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Antonio Parrente and Miriam Meislik in July-August 2016.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Hearst Corporation.
  • WTAE-TV (Television station : Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Personal Name(s)

  • Hinds, Lynn Boyd
  • McDowell, Al, 1928-1994
  • Milton, Cathy


  • Television broadcasting -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Television broadcasting of news -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Television stations -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

WTAE-TV News Film Collection, 1962-1976, AIS.2015.13, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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