Video Vault: The early years of the WVIZ auction

CLEVELAND - The WVIZ televised auction takes place this year April 24 to 27. The auction is a major fundraising vehicle for the public TV station.

Channel 25 began broadcasting in 1965. The auction began very early in the station’s existence.

Peg Neeson has been with WVIZ since 1979. She told me the first auction was held in 1968 and raised $52,000 over three days.

For a time, the auction ran nine days, beginning on a Saturday and running through the following Sunday.

In our video player there is film from three years; 7 seconds from that first year of the auction, 1968; 25 seconds from 1975; and a bit more than a minute from 1977.

In the 1975 footage, longtime WVIZ sports announcer Mike Massa can be seen auctioneering next to a giant rotary dial phone.

The last part of the 1977 film contains an interview WEWS anchor Ted Henry did with WVIZ general manager Betty Cope.

Cope passed away last September. Click here to see her obituary and to see a clip of her talking about riding a horse to WEWS on Christmas to get Santa on the air.

She had strong ties to WEWS. She began her career as a receptionist at WEWS on the day the station signed on, Dec. 17, 1947. She became a director and producer here before moving over to start WVIZ.

Saturday, April 26, WEWS simulcasts 30 minutes of the auction on our air beginning at 12:30 p.m.

The station is hoping to raise $500,000 this year, so enjoy and bid high!

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