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I can speak with considerable authority on this subject as I was a
producer & co/host with PM MAGAZINE for 5 years during the late 1970's
to mid 80's. Basically the show was very similar to the morning
program, "THE TODAY SHOW" but was pretaped and utilized a "menu driven
concept" and designed to make the "Prime Time Access" more appealing
and profitable. The timeslot after local evening news and before
network primetime was usually filled with syndicated fare such as
gameshows and the like. Simply because the networks couldn't air their
own programming in that slot so as to provide diversity on the air.
Well diversity meant two things: syndicated programs OR locally originated/produced material. Well most local stations didn't have the means to produce local material in it's entirety back then and gameshows were getting popular and expensive to buy. Enter Group Westinghouse Broadcasting with the concept of offering local stations who signed in as "Cooperative Stations" to use formulaic magazine style segments and showcasing of local talent in a manner that was efficient and cost effective. Each local station had to fill in so much local content per week while receiving a "national reel" of preproduced segments from Group W's bigger stations as well as the rest of the stations in the group cooperative.
Each station would select stories and supplement the weekly lineup with their own local stories and lead in's. These lead in's were referred to as "Ins & Outs" and were shot on location, sometimes roughly tying in the location with the featured story about to be "introduced".
There were a lot of new areas that PM broke ground in, namely developing the concept of "niche' programming" which is the norm on today's cable channels.
Alas, PM/Evening Magazine died a slow death due to stations being bought up by larger group ownerships who wished to maximize profits by cutting out any and all extra local productions and replacing it with syndicated fare or reruns from existing libraries of the larger groups. Viacom did this to it's stations, I know because that's why PM was canceled where I worked. Not because of poor ratings mind you as many PM's were still holding their own even at their last broadcast.
Today PM/Evening Magazine has managed to stay alive albeit at barely a fraction of their numbers; I believe 3 stations have kept and/or resurrected the format from the dusty shelves and breathed new life into it. At one time there were more than 100 PM Magazines across the country, that's how successful a concept it was.
I remember when this premiered back in Albuquerque, NM in the 1980s.
For most of it's run, it was on KOB and hosted by Gary Doll and Karla
Aragon. We watched it every night because it had interesting features,
and of course, there was Chef Tell ("I see you!!!").
Around 1985-1986, KOB abandoned the format and it was given to KGGM, the CBS affiliate at the time. KGGM had their own evening program called Stopwatch. So they just renamed the show "PM Magazine", however, it was nowhere near as fun as the KOB version.
I moved near Austin, Texas in 1986, which didn't have a PM Magazine. It didn't really surprise me since Austin, TX (there were only 4 stations when I lived there) affiliates were afraid to take chances.
I do miss this show, and I think it would be great if they brought it back to the rest of the nation. I think it would work today.
Evening Magazine (aka PM Magazine) was a concept that local TV stations
bought from the creators. It was unique in that the local station provided
anchors and local content and Group W productions, which owned the
would provide additional national content. This additional content would
only include segments by Chef Tell but also stories from other stations
had PM Magazine shows.
The focus of the stories were human interest and leaned on the light fluffy pieces we now see on the morning shows. These stories might be about a local place of interest, a person with a unique skill or talent, or an issue of local importance.
Many current news personalities we see today had a turn hosting a local PM Magazine. As noted Matt Lauer was a host as was Faith Daniels.
The concept lost interest when the producers pushed stations to do tabloid type stores.
When I left for Boot Camp in June 1990, I didn't realize PM Magazine was
its twilight. When I came home three months later, I saw tabloid trash in
its place and asked, "What happened to PM Magazine?"
This is a show I grew up watching. It seemed to have segments for everyone. I remember at the height of the movie, "Top Gun," our local PM Magazine anchor, Pat Brown got a ride in a real F-14. Saying that, they did segments for whatever was popular in its fourteen year run.
I truly thought it was the end of an era when the show flew into the sunset.
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