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Daytime TV Art Director Al Rosenberg Reflects on Evolution of Soap Media

Daytime TV 1985 cover

The first major publication focusing on soap operas and daytime TV was the aptly-titled Daytime TV. Former art director Al Rosenberg, who started the mag with columnist Paul Denis and worked at DTV until retiring until 1997, shared his memories of pioneering a genre with Soap Hub.

Rosenberg noted that he and Denis had to actively seek out permission from soaps' networks and producers. After promising that they weren't like other "fan" publications, Rosenberg and Denis went to work on the first issue, pubbed in winter 1970. They bonded with many stars in the process. Rosenberg dished:

A lot of them didn’t realize that there was a morality clause, especially in the Procter & Gamble contracts, that if they did any extracurricular activity that might bring discredit to the show or the advertisers, they could be summarily discharged. In that instance, we protected them. So we made friends that way, too.

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By the late '70s and early '80s, soap mags had blossomed into a thriving genre, with the additions of Soap Opera DigestSoap Opera Now!, and Soap Opera Weekly. He added:

Up until the mid to late 1970s, there was never a magazine out called ‘Soap Opera’ anything. It was anathema to the industry. They feared, and so did we, that soap opera was a derogatory term. So we called ours Daytime TV. Our competition was Afternoon TV. Then a marketing firm ran a television campaign for a subscription to a new magazine called Soap Opera Digest. It wasn’t a newsstand magazine at the time; it was a television-advertised subscription magazine. They wanted to see how many subscriptions they could get. And the rest is history.

The additional competition meant Daytime TV had to grow and change, as well. Rosenberg shared:

We couldn’t compete with the weeklies, so we turned our magazines into specials. We put out magazines featuring individual soaps. One magazine a month, whether it be a Days of our Lives issue, featuring the people on Days of our Lives or featuring the stories of The Young and the Restless or General Hospital or Another World. Daytime TV tried to focus on big special features in the magazine. We couldn’t be as timely with recaps and synopses as Soap Opera Digest or Soap Opera Weekly, so we changed the character a little bit. But we were still around.

Fans of Daytime TV can find a collection of back issues in the Smithsonian, donated by Joyce Becker, pioneer of the "Soap Opera Festival."