If only news organizations today were more like this '80s TV promo...

The minute-long '80s-era promo for Milwaukee television station WITI contains everything needed to save the struggling news business. Jazzy theme music, manly mustaches, molester vans, foxy newsdames and clipboards galore!

YouTube Video (from the archives of milwaukeetvmadman via Doug Lussenhop)


  1. more than anything, i want to jump in that van, slam the door, and shout, “follow that car, and fuckin’ step on it!”

  2. This is so funny. I get this station. I was seven when that preview would have been out. What made me laugh the most is that the reporters in the “molesty” van have all moved up to anchor positions. I guess they’re molesting on a much higher level now.

  3. That’s a promo for a tv station? Wow. I thought it was a preview reel for the A-Team spinoff series B-Roll Team.

  4. Actually, once you get beneath all the pungent layers of 80’s nostalgia, there’s a fairly well made ad underneath. If nothing else it succeeds in at least one area: Making Milwaukee look exciting. Regular Woodward and Bernstein of Television at :40.

    And they’re better than the god awful promos local news channels do today. They just might want to take out those stuttering zooms.

  5. What do you mean “if only news organizations today were like this”?!?!?! Nevermind “news organizations” and “today”. When I saw this, the first thing I thought was “if only everything in the universe ever was this awesome!”

  6. Eh, I remember IBA had an advert in a faux-interview style where everyone would finish each other to announce the imminent launch of Channel 4 – annoyed me then, still annoys me today.

    Still, though, the opening montage they reeled out on opening (evening) is one of the best things I’ve seen on and for TV.

  7. I kept expecting to see the cast from SCTV.

    “Excuse me, sir, can you take a break from putting out that house fire to answer a few questions? It won’t take long.”

  8. yeah, they only need the simultaneous jump-and-freezeframe. that would be more appropriate for the newsteam promo, not one for the whole operation as this appears to be.

  9. Speaking of promos… Whenever I feel low, I go back and watch the classic ASU promo. Hot hot hot!

    (boingboinged 2006, btw)

  10. Oh, local news. So many house fires and high school sporting events to cover and so little time.

    We only watch for the weather! Stop calling yourself News!

  11. @ RedShirt77: Until you’ve actually covered a house fire a day before Christmas, where a father of four lost everything – where right before he was getting ready to take his wife to the hospital to have child number five – don’t knock local news.

  12. I wish news organizations today were like this, where they actually went out in the field and report it. Now we have news stations like FOX that imagine stories and get their audiences angry about it.

  13. What are those funky word processors with the fan-fold paper coming out of the (literal) desktop!?

    Erv Weinstein, you’re really a pro!
    You got all the news that we wanna know!
    You tell it like it is and never throw us a curve!
    Nobody tells it like Erv!

    EyeWitness Noooooose!

    1. I dunno – I’ve used actual TTYs (hooked up to systems with actual iron-donut “core” memory!) and I don’t recall anything with an electric (as opposed to mechanical) keyboard and a green-screen monitor over on the side.

      If you freeze at 0:32 it looks like the guy is typing into it while looking at the results thereof on the screen while paper is (or has been) coming out of the slot on top.

      1. Oh I know that one! That thing is a Mead Data Central UBIQ terminal for the Nexis news service, the database service from Before The Internet (http://www.infotoday.com/SEARCHER/apr04/ardito_bjorner.shtml) If you sort of squint at :35 you can make out the Nexis logo. You paid to retrieve old newspaper stories, wire copy, etc. out of it using search terms. This was from the time before information knew it was ok to want to be free, possibly because it traveled at 1200 baud.

  14. Is it just me, or does the guy reporting on the fire at the end look suspiciously like NPH? A bit of makeup, and instant twin.

  15. I didn’t see a single mustache in this! You lied to us all! But it was still pretty entertaining.

  16. Isn’t this the station that, only a couple of years earlier, had a cat puppet doing the weather?

  17. I promise you, I do NOT miss huge, heavy tube cameras with umbilicals to 3/4″ field recorders.

    I’m beginning to not miss Betacam.

  18. I would give anything for a real news show here in LA. Coming from NYC, I used to watch NY1 every day. The best local news ever. Here? Nada. The news is pure entertainment coverage, most of the breaking stories come from TMZ. When I got here I turned on the news and the top story was about a couple of guys who shoplifted a lab puppy from a pet store (caught on surveillance cam of course). These guys looked like bill and ted, just 2 stoned surfer dudes. I’m like “that’s the top story? no politics? no murder? wtf!”

    I would give anything for a news show like this, with actual reporters going out and covering actual news. If they didn’t have surveillance cams there would be no news footage at all these days.

  19. I hate the 80s. It represents everything I hate about mankind. Greed. Corporation. Climbing the ladder. Backstabbing. Profit over ethics. Overspending to defeat evil empires. Reaganism.

    1. Anon. #37: The 80’s bit, no doubt, but what does that have to do with the quality of this promo and the feeling it gives that it actually has *reporters* and might be worth watching? Gad, those are ugly lady anchor outfits, though…

    2. “I hate the 80s. It represents everything I hate about mankind. Greed. Corporation. Climbing the ladder. Backstabbing. Profit over ethics. Overspending to defeat evil empires. Reaganism.”

      –I dearly suggest you remain under the rock you’ve hidden yourself.

    3. “I hate the 80s. It represents everything I hate about mankind. Greed. Corporation. Climbing the ladder. Backstabbing. Profit over ethics. Overspending to defeat evil empires. Reaganism.”

      Great music, though.

      1. Anyone know what the music is? It must be some stock music; I have heard it on other 80s-vintage things before, but I would be curious if anyone has more info on it.

  20. Looks like the text was blazing across the terminal screen at about 1200 baud! A very good speed for reading… The commercial all looks cheesy now, but more real and exciting than modern local news. The 80s were a lot of fun.

  21. Makes me proud to be from Milwaukee.

    Check out this Milwaukee promo from the 70’s – ONE OF THE BEST NEWS PROMOS OF ALL TIME (According to Kanye):

  22. “Foxy newsdames.” I often love your phrasing re our sex, Xeni – like that one, fun and chicly classy – I would expect “newsbabes” more generally. Stylin’!

  23. *Sighs*
    This short video shows us singlehandet why the 80s were the most awesome decade ever.
    I miss the 80s. :(
    To honor them I wear a nice stache and I consider buying a DeLorean.

  24. Probably the most “retro” thing in that clip is the RCA(!) video camera. My how times have changed!

  25. Holy crap, that’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. Modern video needs more zooms that are timed with the horn hits.

  26. Yes WITI was great back in the day. They also reported local news pretty well. They still do actually. Granted the station is owned by FOX. They do broadcast the national morning shows, but the local news isn’t as biasd as they are. As a matter of fact it’s WTMJ of NBC who promotes Charlie SYKE’s, an extreme right wing local commentator. As far as I can see, WITI is very white bread with mayo in thier reporting of local news and commentary. No opinion on anything. They just report local stuff that’s happening while its going on. The other thing is that when other station’s go out on my Direct TV , somehow channel 6 stays on. It could very well be that FOX has bought the better satatlites and towers. Therefore forcing all of their stuff to be moved through more than the other’s. Oh well.
    As for fashions, I find it interesting that Women with big hair have alway’s been in fashion. Blonds, Brunettes, Redheads. Not a fat chick in the bunch. Men with flat hair or toupes are still in. Also it still doesn’t matter if a local newsguy is chunky or skinny. They are both. Not a sixpack abs guy to be found on the local news. Why is it all of the women have to look fit and not men?

  27. I’m proud to say my late, great grandfather, Earl, was the sports anchor for this station and in this fantastic clip. I can only imagine his Ron Burgendy-esk stories he never shared with his grandchildren. If you enjoyed this, check out these other gems from the same station…

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