Vintage TV: Hello News

23 comments on Vintage TV: Hello News
1 minute

Have you lived in a Hello News town?

From 1978 through about 1990, dozens of TV stations in markets as large as Dallas, Texas and as small as Joplin, Missouri used a music package called Hello News to open their news programs. News-theme fans (yes, there really are news-theme fans) generally agree that it is one of the top news themes ever. Here’s how this theme played in Nashville.

Here’s what this theme sounds like without that pesky voiceover.

If you’ve ever lived in a Hello News town, you will probably more readily recognize the promos. They were the height of sap and cheese, but dang did they ever work for the stations that ran them. Here’s one of the first ever Hello promos, sang by composer Frank Gari himself, for Milwaukee.

Florence Warner sang the version of this promo that most people recognize. She had a few records to her name, but I think her voice will always be best known for singing “Makes no difference where I go, you’re the best hometown I know.”

She also sang Hello Maine, Hello Wichita, Hello Houston, Hello Indiana, Hello Utah, Hello Nashville (also with the Nashville Symphony), Hello Calgary, and many more. Celebrities sometimes got into the act, performing versions of Hello Atlanta, Hello Utah, and others. When the campaign went international, local performers stepped in, such as an appropriately Australian-sounding female vocalist singing Hello Melbourne.

I guess it’s better to ask whether it was possible to have avoided living in a Hello News town!


23 responses to “Vintage TV: Hello News”

  1. Steve Avatar

    Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    Before I even reached the 11Alive video, I already remembered the song as being from WXIA-TV.

    Thanks again.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Glad to rekindle old memories! I grew up in a Hello News market too, South Bend/Elkhart, Indiana.

  2. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    Holy cow, did that “Hello (Atlanta)” thing ever ring a bell — a bell I didn’t even remember was there… but I seem to remember it as “Hello, Erie” (Pennsylvania), which I believe was channel 35 and we got on cable in southern Ontario… except “you’re the best place that I know” was “you’re the best hometown I know”. Wow. Sweet! :)

    This was the news theme that always sent shudders of techno-cool up my spine when I was still evicting milk teeth… :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      There really was a Hello Erie!

      That The National open is classic.

    2. Jim Avatar

      Oh, and one more thing. If I ever get a decent cell phone, I’m making Hello News be my default ring.

  3. bbmcrae Avatar

    Thank you for posting these!

    I grew up in Baltimore and remember the version there. It was cheesy and sappy and I could never stop singing it. Does anyone have a clip of that version? I can’t find it on YouTube.

  4. Mike B. Avatar
    Mike B.

    There is also Hello Champaign, Hello Illinois, and Hello Illini.

  5. Mike Walton (settummanque) Avatar

    There were two other versions…WAVE TV in Louisville used “Hello Kentucky” as their theme for about five years. They would show it periodically during the day and used the same intro that 11Alive (and some other stations) used for their newscast at 6 and 11.

    Down the road a little ways, however, WEGI/WFKE, a cable and low power OTA station (and award-winning Explorer Post) used “Hello Kentucky” with different ending (“…we all thank you…”) originally as part of an entry for “best local promotional” among Television/Radio Explorer Posts. They used it until the Explorer Post imploded in 1988 and the television/radio facilities transferred to a new cable operator who had no interest in having teens to work at their new facility. Fort Knox High School later got some of the equipment and employed one of the videographers/engineers as a part time instructor for a couple of years.

    In 1974 there were strong racial tensions in Jefferson County associated with desegregation and consolidation of the city and county school systems. Many feared that that tension would work its way down into neighboring Hardin and Meade Countries, the home to the Fort Knox military base. WFKE had just changed their call letters from the previous owners of the cable outlet and was looking to promote both the station and the multi-racial aspect of being Kentuckians.

    The video featured males and females of all races interacting with Kentuckians along with WFKE’s radio and television students all working “hand in hand”. Florence Warner was paid by WAVE to adjust and sing the lyrics (without IDing the cable station) and adding the line “We just love you…” Two years later, the cable station paid for the line to be replaced with “We all thank you…” which remained there until the station went away.

    It also featured an interracial kiss between a black girl and a white boy — both about five. The original video was shot featuring the two kissing; the video was reshot after a peer review to a peck on the cheek from the black girl to the white boy’s cheek. It also featured the stations’ contributions and fund-rasing to the WHAS Crusade for Children, an annual Kentuckiana all-hands telethon for disadvantaged and developmentally disabled children. Back then, television stations do not “cross promote”; today, it’s uncommon for one station to promote an activity sponsored by another television station or group of stations.

    I have been trying to find the song but have forgotten the name. Thank you for finding this; this really brings back some wonderful memories because as the President of the Explorer Post (294) and the guy with the concept of doing the “Hello Kentucky” project, I later went to Omaha to receive the first place, best local promotional and two other awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (the national partner for the BSA’s Communicative Arts Exploring program back then). It was the first time I would be honored by my peers for being creative. Of course, there was a team of thirteen other Explorers whose creativity also assisted with getting us and the Explorer Post the really nice awards.

    Those awards — and many others by other Explorers since — were displayed in the lobby area of the Leadership Department (Harris Hall), which at the time was the Army Armor School and Center’s television facility at Fort Knox. In 1987, the Armor School wanted to redesign the studios which required all of the various Scouting items to be stored in two large boxes and placed into a storage room during the re-hab.

    The Explorer Post imploded in 1988 or 89. In the process, someone moved the box of plaques, trophies and certificates out of the storage closet while the television studios were being re-designed. The box and all of the accomphishments of that Explorer Post is sitting in some landfill somewhere…

    Thank you again for providing a wonderful memory!!!


    1. Jim Avatar

      Hey, I’m glad my post made this connection for you.

  6. Sabrina Avatar

    I remember the Hello San Diego from back in the 80s. Moved to Oregon in the 90s and missed hearing it. Man, was I disappointed to find out it was some generic packaged used all over the country. I thought it was unique to San Diego.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Pretty much every news jingle and theme is a package that other stations use too! It’s a dirty little secret of the TV industry.

  7. Ian Gyle Avatar

    I Grew up in Syracuse and Rochester NY. WSTM 3 in Syracuse was a Hello Syracuse (Hello Syracuse Central New York… Channel 3 Loves you) channel and WOKR 13 in Rochester was also

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Towns everywhere were Hello News towns!!

    2. Mike Walton (settummanque) Avatar

      Is there a plain music bed version of the “Hello City” theme — other than the small pieces used at the start and end of newscasts?

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        I’m sure there is, but I don’t have a copy.

  8. scot vertullo Avatar
    scot vertullo

    That Milwaukee one was the first of all in 1977 on WISN-TV12. I guess Milwaukee IS the best hometown I know! :-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Nothing like a little hometown pride!

  9. Jill Avatar

    Was Boston one of the towns that used this song?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Darned if I know. YouTube might have some answers.

  10. mickychas Avatar

    I remember well the ‘Hello, Utah’ jingle used by KUTV channel 2. it is one of the few Hello News jingles on YouTube. There was a short instrumental version used at the beginning of 2’s newscasts, but the whole song was played often throughout the day. There’s even a version recorded by the Osmonds, a Utah staple back in the day. after moving to Washington DC in 1980, I caught brief snippets of the Baltimore version, but AFAIK DC was not a Hello News town.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve seen the Osmonds version of Hello Utah; it was on YouTube at one time. Somewhere on the Net, probably on Wikipedia, is a list of all the Hello News markets.

  11. vickicelebrateshome Avatar

    I was IN one of the spots for Hello Erie. It was 1983 and I was about 8 years old. I wish I could find it on YouTube or something…..

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s cool! Maybe the TV station still has a copy.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.