Teaching Cleveland
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Middle School Edition: 6-8

Lesson 45

Early TV in Cleveland


Students will understand the contribution Cleveland made to the early years of television broadcasting and communication. Students will review the early issues of television ownership and viewing. Students will analyze the changes that have occurred in television program design and offerings.



  1. When did television first begin in Cleveland?
  2. How different or similar were the early TV programs than the TV programs of today?
  3. What were some of the issues surrounding this new medium called television in the 1940s?


  1. Begin by asking students what some of their favorite TV programs are today? What times are these programs broadcast? When do they watch TV the most? What about their parents?
  2. What different types of programs are offered on TV today? (answers should include entertainment, sports, news, educational programming, music, courses, shopping, etc.) How often can you watch TV? Is there a time when there is nothing broadcast on TV?
  3. Ask students when they think TV was first broadcast in Cleveland? (1947, WEWS) What programs do you think children watched in the early years of TV?
  4. Distribute or display the Tele-Vue schedule and read through it. Note differences in the schedule of 1949 with the schedules of today. How many channels? How many programs? What types of programs were offered?
  5. Distribute or read to the students the article "Mind You, I Love Video." First ask students what the writer meant by "Video". How is it different than what we think of when we hear the word video today? What are some of the issues this "new" technology of television posed in 1949. (people who don't have TVs, visiting your house to watch the programs) Can they think of a similar situation today? (cable TV - people who don't have those cable stations coming to your house to watch a program.) What is the "tone" of this article? What message is the writer trying to convey to the reader?
  6. Ask students to think about television today. If they could design a day of TV viewing for their family, what types of programs would they include? They should keep in mind that the programs should satisfy the wants of their entire family. Encourage them to be creative. They should create new program ideas, not simply repeat current programs. Then have students write an essay about one of the programs they would like to see on the air, or have them create a program schedule of their programs for a day. Instead of an essay, students could draw a picture of their program or ad advertisement for it as if it was on a TV screen.
  7. A group activity for older students could be created around the development of a new television station. Groups would need to decide their "call letters", their logo design, decide on what programs they will offer and then develop the program schedule. Each group would then create their initial broadcast introducing the station, programs, etc.

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