Sunday, February 22, 2015


This is one of those times that I might sound like some bad Facebook meme, but more than likely, what I'm going to post about is gone or at least evolved into something more sophisticated. This is a tribute to DOS text-only bulletin board cable TV channels of the 70s and 80s.

You know the ones. They were all in a sort of DOS text produced by a Chyron generator somewhere. Mainly they had the current time and temperature, with weather from National Weather Bureau. It was usually a five day forecast, interspersed with some stats such as the barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed and dew point. These stations also had news headlines from AP or UPI or even Reuters, crawling along the bottom of the screen.  Some of these channels told what big event was coming up on the pay cable channels like HBO. There were also community news items like blood drives from the American Red Cross, church revivals or high school plays.

The audio was always from an easy listening, jazz or classical radio channel. Some even used the Muzak service. I'm going to at the end of this post by giving you an Ipod playlist of the kind of music you would have heard on those cable stations.

The fact is, these are probably gone, not because of some evil government plot as some websites would probably have you believe, but because they're outmoded by our technology. Let's face it, we can get information on our cell phones and the Internet. Turning on a certain cable channel to get the weather, news and other information really isn't necessary.

Also remember that these cable stations predated CNN and The Weather Channel, themselves and they stayed around for a little afterwards. They began dying out in the 90s, but if there is one still around, I'm sure the graphics are better because DOS graphics look pretty cheesy these days (although the screen capture at the top is from 2013 - some broadcasters never update as long as something works).

Another reason they are probably gone is they were kind of boring. Something you parents would watch when you wanted to watch reruns of Lost In Space, Get Smart or Batman.

I was trying to find information on these type TV stations. I was having trouble with what they were called.  Finally, I found out the technical name was "text-only bulletin board stations."  Lo and behold, I also found something I was hoping to find for this post. Not only did I find screen captures but, yes, some demented people taped these channels back in the day with their VCR and they posted some on YouTube. There are several on YouTube from a weather channel from Winnipeg, Canada. I have included a sample above.

Here is you Ipod playlist, so you can recreate the experience at home by typing up the time, temperature, weather forecast, AP headlines, sports scores and an announcement for a church bake sale in DOS, then stare at it for about an hour.

"Music Box Dancer" - Frank Mills
"Those Were The Days" - Mary Hopkins
"Love Is Blue" - Paul Mauriat
"My Coloring Book" - Kitty Kallen
"Theme From a Summer Place" - Percy Faith
"The Girl from Ipanema" - Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto
"Nadia's Theme" - Barry Devorzon & Perry Botkin Jr.
"We've Only Just Begun" - The Carpenters
"It Was a Very Good Year" - Frank Sinatra
"Life of Leisure" - Keith Mansfield
"Evergreen" - Barbara Steisand
"Theme from Summer of 42" - Peter Nero
"Morning After" Maureen McGovern
"Love's Theme" - Love's Unlimited Orchestra
"If I Could Reach You" - 5th Dimension
"Soul Coaxing (Ame Cailne)" - Raymond LaFevre 
"Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" - Dionne Warwick
"Theme from Exodus" - Ferrante & Teicher
"And I Love You So" - Perry Como
"Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet" - Henry Mancini
"You Needed Me" - Anne Murray
"Autumn Leaves" - Roger Williams
"Wichita Lineman" - Glen Campbell
"The End" - Earl Grant
"A Taste of Honey" Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
"You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone
"Never My Love" - The Association
"Love at First Sight (Je T'amie...Moi Non Plus)" - Sounds Nice 
"We Will Sing In the Sunshine" - Gale Garnett
"A Swinging Safari" - Billy Vaughn
"Midnight Blue" - Louise Tucker
"Scarborough Fair" - Sergio Mendes & Brazil 66
"Take Five" - Dave Brubeck Quartet
"Weekend in New England" - Barry Manilow
"True Love Ways" - Buddy Holly
"Our Winter Love" - Bill Persell
"Who Do You Love" - The Sapphires
"Music To Watch Girls By" - The Bob Crew Generation
"Beyond the Sea' - Bobby Darin
"Some Velvet Morning" - Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra
"Classical Gas" - Mason Williams
"Windmills of Your Mind" - Dusty Springfield
"The Dis-Advantages of You" - The Brass Ring
"Can't Help Falling In Love" - Elvis Presley
"Sacha" - Hank Marvin
"Just The Two of Us" - Grover Washington Jr. & Bill Withers
"If" - Bread
"Everybody Loves Somebody" - Dean Martin
"Calcutta" - Lawrence Welk
"Don't Cry Out Loud" - Melissa Manchester
"Something" - Mystic Moods Orchestra
"Look of Love" - Burt Bacharach
"Song Sung Blue" - Neil Diamond
"Breezin" - George Benson
"After the Lovin" - Engelbert Humperdink
"Theme from Dark Shadows" - Bob Cobert Orchestra
"Paloma Blanca" - George Baker Selection
"Cast You Fate To the Wind" Vince Guaraldi Trio
"Elusive Butterfly" - Bob Lind
"The Knack (and How To Get It)" - John Barry
"Girl in a Sportscar" - Alan Hawkshaw
"What's In a Kiss" - Gilbert O'Sullivan
"Maschio Ruspante" - Ferrio Giovanni
"Tequila" - Wes Montgomery
"Aspetto Ancora un Giorno" - Piccioni Gian Piero
"That's Nice" - Alan Moorehouse 

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