Portland Television - Then & Now

I'm dedicating this page to local Portland television. With the introduction of cable, satellite, and syndicated programming, there's not a lot of good local entertainment out there anymore. It's really sad.

KPTV-12 used to be the king of local Portland TV. When I was younger, they seemed to have a staff of dreamers, thinkers and writers that genuinely cared for the audience of the City of Roses. From kid's programs to news and entertainment, they put some real thought and time into producing some of the best local programming that I've seen. Now, well......let's say that they've "lost that lovin' feeling."

portland television star Rusty Nails

I have to give credit when credit is due, though: for many years, each Labor Day weekend, KPTV-12 continued to show the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, in it's entirety. It was a tradition around my house to watch and I want to send out props to Channel 12 for hosting the entire MDA Telethon, year after year.

KATU was another Portland Oregon television station that showed some care for us. One of my favorite shows as a kid was Bumpity, which played every Sunday morning. Check out my Bumpity page for more information on this terrific kid's show from the past.

Another strange time in Portland television history was the popularity of Portland Cable Access. These were cable stations set aside that allowed anyone who wanted to put on a show to head down to the Cable Access building, take some training classes and then light up the Portland cable scene with just about whatever they wanted to....and I do mean whatever!

Local cable access celebrity, Jim Spagg (Jim has passed away now), was a 50-something balding, chunky man who had a weekly show where he would tell lewd jokes, dance around naked and let us all in on the ongoing battles with his nutty neighbor. This guy was out there and I sure remember the uproar over his broadcasts!

Local Portland TV has gone lazy for the most part, with a few exceptions. There exists a handful of shows such as PDXposed and Next Stop that promote this great city, but overall, local programming's sheer entertainment value is a thing of the past. I'm going to get off my soapbox now and show you what made local Portland television so great and where it still exists.

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  • Ramblin Rod - Rod Anders hosted an afternoon kid's cartoon show that entertained youngsters for many years.

  • AM NW - A local show on KATU that showcased local celebrities, cooking, events and more. This show is still around.

  • Bumpity - Another show on KATU for kids. How much entertainment can you get from a lump of sod? A lot!

  • Rusty Nails - Rusty the Clown (best known as Rusty Nails) was the host of various children's shows in Portland from 1957-1972.

  • Hobo Kelly - Although not a Portland original, this Irish clown captured the hearts and minds of many a child.

  • Sinister Cinema - A Portland TV hit on KATU-2 in the 1970's, playing classic monster movies and hosted by Victor Ives.

  • Portland Wrestling - Local professional wrestling from the Portland Sports Arena.

  • PDXposed - One of my favorite local shows. Hosted by Jon Olson, PDXposed highlights the best Portland has to offer. Great stuff. Catch it on Comcast Cable and KGW-8.

  • Next Stop - The "next stop" for Jon Olson, was taking his show on the road, around the country and the world, but not forgetting his roots....Portland, Oregon.

  • Portlandia - Taking a steps sideways is the IFC comedy series, Portlandia. Spoofing the city with great love. A very funny show.

  • Leverage - The TNT hit was shot AND set right here in Portland. I loved being a Background Actor for this fun show.

  • Grimm - A crime drama with a dark modern-day fairy tale twist. Shooting in Portland, I've had the chance to do Background Actor work in a number of episodes.

  • Town Hall - A weekly round-table discussion of newsworthy events around the state of Oregon.

  • Tom Peterson - The most famous retail salesman in all of Portland and beyond. If you know Portland, you knew Tom. "Wake Up! Wake Up!"

....More To Come

I don't know if it got too expensive in certain instances or people just got lazy, but local Portland television was a real gem. At least we still get props from a few great shows.

Have Your Own Portland Television Memories?

How about sharing your own stories and memories of growing up with local Portland TV shows? We'd love to hear about them!

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