Hello City

Because I’m a pop culture kid at heart, I was captivated by the Atlantic Cities post on the “Hello” commercials for local news stations.

The Cliff Notes version: Local news stations share concepts, from theme music to commercial/promotional ideas, and this one spread like wildfire in the 80s. (From what I can tell, it was primarily for ABC affiliates.)

It was created by Frank Gari, who also wrote many of the theme music packages news stations have used over the years. For those of us of a certain age, it evokes a whole lot of nostalgia.

The Atlantic Cities post shares a few, including Milwaukee, the first in the series.

I thought it would be fun to take a look at a few other towns – Rust Belt towns, of course.

We start (no big surprise) with Pittsburgh:

A few notes:

  • The traffic cop at the beginning and end: Vic Cianca, who directed traffic with flair for years on Grant Street. The second face in the video: Nick Perry, WTAE on-air personality and the guy who rigged the daily lottery drawing in 1980.
  • The Incline and the gorgeous shots of Downtown Pittsburgh: still there. So is Heinz.
  • The mills are no longer there. Nor is the late, great Paul Long (shown with co-anchor Don Cannon at the end).

Erie put its own lo-fi spin on it, having notable local figures sing the lyrics (Erie old-timers may recognize a number of folks; I recognized former Erie Playhouse creative director David Matthews):

There’s the one that started the fad – Milwaukee in the late 1970s:

And one more clip, of Cleveland.

This one isn’t the “Hello” clip, though. Cleveland does indeed have a “Hello” clip on YouTube, although it’s more recent (2002). But I’m sharing this one.

I’m sharing this “Catch 5” clip instead, because:

  1. Wow, the graphics are really trippy,
  2. It reminds me a bit of ‘Anchorman,’ and
  3. The clip features Dorothy Fuldheim, one of the pillars of journalism in Cleveland, who I watched in the early 80s when I spent a few summers in Ohio.
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