Action News

Action News is a local television newscast format in the United States. It was conceived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at WFIL-TV (now WPVI-TV), by the current Station Manager (Mel Kampmann), in 1970 as a response to the "Eyewitness News" format used on rival station KYW-TV. At this time, WFIL-TV was said to be #6 in a four station market.

The main difference between Action News and Eyewitness News was that the former was far more tightly formatted. Time limits were set on packages—for instance, a reporter package could be no longer than 90 seconds. This difference enabled the station to cover more stories than their competitors. Another key difference was the focus on the surrounding Philadelphia suburban areas—a response to the movement of residents from the city to the suburbs. Finally, WPVI placed more emphasis on young talent—while WCAU-TV and KYW-TV used older, respected news anchors such as Vince Leonard, Tom Snyder and John Facenda, WPVI used a young Larry Kane as their top anchor. Later the station would add the very popular Jim O'Brien as their main weathercaster.

The format quickly took off, and after a few years of going back and forth with KYW for first place, WPVI took the lead in 1977 and has held it ever since. Capital Cities Communications, WPVI's owner at the time, took the format to most of its other stations

WPIX-TV in New York City, an independent station at the time (now affiliated with The CW and owned by Tribune Broadcasting), picked up the Action News concept (and music) successfully for its 10 p.m. newscast. The newscast won numerous awards, but the station never approached the ratings of longtime leader WNEW-TV (now WNYW-TV).

Sister stations WFTS-TV and KSHB-TV are the first in the country to identify themselves with the Action News branding all day with no station number.

Outside the United States, the Action News title was used by the following television stations:
* Germany's RTL II (then known as RTL2) in the 1990s
* CKCO-TV in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in the 1980s and 1990s
* NWS-9 in Adelaide, Australia in the 1980s
* TV Asahi in Tokyo, Japan in the 1970s and 1980s
* Netherlands' SBS 6 since its inception in 1995 until 2006
* Colombia's Caracol TV (then as a production company for Inravisión) as "Noticias de Acción" in the 1980s

Action News today

Like Eyewitness News, Action News is usually nothing more than a name, since its innovations have been incorporated into newscasts across the country. The name is found on fewer stations than Eyewitness News. WPVI Ch.6 Action News has been the highest rated newscast for more than two decades.


While the format started in 1970, 1972 marked the start of the well-known "Move Closer to Your World" theme by Al Ham on WPVI. It was actually first used by WNAC-TV in Boston (now WHDH-TV) in 1970. However, its news director (Mel Kampmann) moved to WPVI in 1972 and took the theme with him. It quickly spread to other stations across the country, but was mostly used in the Northeast.

Unlike most stations, WPVI still uses this theme after three decades, and the theme has arguably become as much a part of the Philadelphia consciousness as the "Rocky" theme. This was proven in 1996 when the station replaced it with a fuller, orchestral rendition of the same theme performed by the London Philharmonic. Viewer outcry was so great that the station dropped the more thunderous and authoritative version within five days. WPVI has made numerous remasters of the theme to keep the sound fresh and to make it sound less dated. The theme has the unique distinction of being probably the only news theme to be offered as a ringtone, which WPVI offers at no charge, and is linked here [] and below.

In addition, during the open, WPVI has quick shots of various people in the Philadelphia area doing things, thus reinforced the "Action" theme.

WPVI's open is rotated at the official change of every season to reflect the current season, for example, Phillies and other spring footage starts showing on the open on March 21 and Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers autumn footage starts on September 23, while the Mummers parade and other winter footage is shown from December 21 to March 21.

Although "Move Closer to Your World" is strongly associated with the Action News format by Philadelphians and many others, many stations that have used the "Action News" name actually chose to use other pieces of music for their newscasts. Conversely, stations that use "Move Closer to Your World" do not necessarily use the "Action News" name or format either. WNEP-TV in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania used the original version for many years before switching to a modern variation which only partially resembles the original.

tations that use or have used the Action News format or name

Action News in popular culture

* In an early episode of "The Simpsons", a local station is shown using the Action News branding plus a similar intro—but portrays the show as having more action and explosions instead of being faster paced.

* On Ray Stevens' 1974 hit "The Streak", he plays an "Action News" reporter" on the scene of three different streaking events, every time interviewing the same person (also played by Stevens) who keeps warning his wife, "Ethel", not to look—"but it's too late." At the end of the piece, the streaker is joined by "Ethel", much to the husband's horror!

* On the "South Park" episode "Quest for Ratings", the kids change the name of their school news program from "Super School News" to "Sexy Action School News" and add other outrageous elements in an attempt to get higher ratings from their rival program.

ee also


External links

* [ TV newscast titles]
* [ Get the WPVI Action News free ringtone here]

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