LocalSYR

NewsChannel 9 celebrates 50 years: ‘Open Line” on Channel 9

It’s been fun to hear about the shows you remember from the past 50 years; shows like “Romper Room” and “It’s Academic!” Another show we hear a lot about anchored our morning line-up in the late 1970s and gave you an “Open Line” to much of Central New York.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- It’s been fun to hear about the shows you remember from the past 50 years; shows like “Romper Room” and “It’s Academic!”

Another show we hear a lot about anchored our morning line-up in the late 1970s and gave you an “Open Line” to much of Central New York.

"Open Line" was an hour-long talk and community affairs show that ran weekdays at 10:00am.

“You had to be on your toes, because it was a live program,” said Open Line host and producer Karin Franklin-King. “I hear people tell me, even now, that I know you. You were in my living room.”

It would be hard to think of anyone who'd be more welcome in your living room than Karin. She came to Central New York to attend Onondaga Community College, and found a world much different than her native Brooklyn. And the television world she came into in the mid-70s was much different than today.

“For one thing, there weren't many, if any, African-American women, or black guys, on the air. And I was very much into Public Affairs and really searching out what's happening in the community,” Karin said.

"Open Line" had been on the air for a couple of years with other hosts (including Mike Price) before Karin took over. She helped mold the show, bringing to it her warm personality and genuine curiosity, years before Oprah Winfrey launched a similar show of her own.

For six years, starting in 1976, Karin's "Open Line" gave Central New Yorkers open access to some of the big names in entertainment, sports and politics; people like boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, award-winning actors Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, and Grammy-winning folk music legend Libba Cotten, who spent her later years in Syracuse. A highlight came when talk show king Phil Donohue taped five shows at the War Memorial and visited the "Open Line" studio.

After "Open Line" ended, Karin moved into radio, the corporate world and teaching. Today, she's still involved in community theatre and community building. And she still hears from fans in places she'd never expect.

“Those," Karin said, "who are now in their 20s and 30s and said 'I was home sick from school and my mom made me watch, but boy, I liked it! ’”

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