This may be one of the most unusual local TV promotions ever: In 1972, KABC-Channel 7 held a contest to come and do a newscast at someone's home. Early that summer, that's exactly what the station did: They essentially moved into the San Fernando Valley home of the Jensen family, and did a newscast.
It was... awkward. Eyewitness News anchors Joseph Benti, John Schubeck, Ralph Story, Stu Nahan, and Alan Sloane, sat with the camera-shy family in their living room and around the dining room table.. and did the news. Sports anchor Nahan at one point thanks Mrs. Jensen for the "garbanzo beans and the hot dogs wrapped in tin foil." (I also love the son who doesn't take his sunglasses off.)
It's pretty amazing, and it's been saved in all its glory on YouTube. Watch below:
Broadcasting magazine covered the story; here's what they wrote in their June 26, 1972, issue:
Billed as the first complete TV newscast ever broadcast from a home, the event was the culmination of a two-month promotion content is which viewers were asked to tell the station what hearing the news from a friend means to them. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jensen of the Sepulveda section of the San Fernando Valley won the right to KABC-TV's housecall and they were inundated by the following:
• Remote truck at the site, powered by its own generator for running equipment and audio gear.
• Inside the truck monitors, switching equipment and studio staff.
• Cables from cameras to power units, with cable running through doorways of the home.
• Plywood laid to protect carpeting and floors. Various other protection used for walls and furniture.
• Direct telephone lines from the home into Studio B at KABC-TV Hollywood for news updates.
• A news teletype wire at the site.
• A Telco (telephone company) truck at the site, which transmitted the sound and picture via microwave signal to a Telco transmitter on Mt. Wilson, the highest point in Southern California.
Personnel at the newscast in the home included: a director, a producer (a second producer was located back at the station), associate director, stage manager, technical director, lighting director, video control engineer, audio man, two cameramen, two utility men (to handle microphones, set up equipment), engineering maintenance man, three electricians, two prop men and set designer. News personnel included the on-air news team of Joe Benti, John Schubeck, Stu Nahan, Alan Sloane and Ralph Story. Also on hand were a show coordinator and several newswriters.
On the newscast, the Jensen family was introduced on-air (the Jensens' 17-year-old daughter, Linda, actually sent in the winning entry). But the delivery of the news, for the most part, was presented int he normal fashion of the regular KABC-TV newscast.
in his memoir, and Time magazine even did a piece on it.
The other amazing thing about this newscast: Chuck Henry, who's seen reporting a story, is, of course, still active in Los Angeles TV as KNBC-Channel 4 anchor. Now that's career longevity!