Yes, at one time local stations produced a lot of local programing. Just about every station had an afternoon kids show where local kids could get on TV- and yes- I did that to- on the "Old Rebel" show on WFMY(ch2) in Greensboro.
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But I was more fascinated with the cameras and equipment than the Old Rebel! While the other kids were crowded around him I was over talking to one of the technicians. He said if I come back sometime he'd give me a tour of the technical part. I pester my parents for weeks until they final called and arranged it- I got to see everything and even meet the chief engineer- Doyle Thompson. He said something like "study hard and I may have a job for you in a few years". But I wound up at their rather weak competition instead (described earlier). Anyway there is no doubt that visit on the Old Rebel show had a significant effect on my career. Without that visit I would have probably grown up and got a job at my uncles shoe store.
WFMY also had other local shows- cooking shows- farm shows- community affairs and such. Now hardly any stations run such shows. It's more profitable to run Oprah and syndicated game shows.