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WCCO-TV, is the CBS owned and operated television station that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paulmarker area of Minnesotamarker. It broadcasts a digital television signal on channel 32 . It also operates two full-powered semi-satellites--KCCO-TV in Alexandriamarker (7 DT) and KCCW in Walkermarker (12 DT). KCCO-TV simulcasts WCCO-TV, but airs separate commercials. KCCW is a full repeater of KCCO-TV. The station's studios are in downtown Minneapolis, while its transmitter is at the Telefarm complex in Shoreview, Minnesotamarker.

From 1947 to 1996, WCCO-TV and WCCO-AMmarker won twelve George Foster Peabody Awards, more than any other Twin Cities broadcast outlet.

Unlike most other CBS owned-and-operated stations, WCCO does not follow the CBS Mandate in its branding, using simply its call letters rather than "CBS 4".


WCCO-TV's roots actually originate with another radio station, WRHM, which took to the air in 1925. In 1934, two newspapers—the Minneapolis Tribune and the Saint Paul Pioneer Press-Dispatch—formed a joint venture named "Twin Cities Newspapers," which purchased the radio station and changed its call letters to WTCN. WTCN-TV went on the air on July 1, 1949 as Minnesota's second television station, broadcasting from the Radio City Theater in downtown Minneapolis.

When Twin Cities Newspapers sold all their radio holdings, including WTCN Radio, in 1952, it created an opportunity to purchase WCCO radio (AM 830marker and FM 102.9, now WLTE) and merge the two companies into Midwest Radio and Television, Inc. The new company changed Channel 4's call letters to match its new radio sisters.

Channel 4 has been the market's only station to never change its affiliation. Partly because of this stability, WCCO-TV is one of CBS' best-performing affiliates.

The WCCO building in downtown Minneapolis
In 1954, a live CBS broadcast from the Foshay Towermarker provided a view of an early-morning solar eclipse, the first time such an event had been televised nationally. In 1955, a mobile unit was formed, using a van dubbed the "Blue Goose" which would be used for more than a decade.

WCCO-TV participated in the first transatlantic television broadcast via the Telstar satellite on July 23, 1962 when a mobile crew provided video of Mount Rushmoremarker in South Dakotamarker. This video was broadcast across the three major networks of the time: ABC, CBS, and NBC.

WCCO and rival KSTP were locked in a close-fought news ratings rivalry until 1968, when WCCO debuted a new, chattier format called "The Scene Tonight" and "The Scene at 6." Conceived by news director Joe Bartelme and consultants McHugh & Hoffman, the "Scene" format propelled WCCO into a news ratings lead that would last until KARE burst ahead two decades later. Under Bartelme's guidance, WCCO became a kind of farm club for CBS News. CBS eventually hired more than a dozen WCCO reporters, including Phil Jones, Bob McNamara, Jerry Bowen, Susan Spencer, and Don Kladstrup. A handful more signed on with other networks, including Stewart], who was killed covering fighting in Nicaragua for ABC.

Channel 4's studio was renovated in 1956, but as the station grew the space eventually became too small. In 1983, the station moved to a new studio on the south end of Nicollet Mallmarker. Channel 4 is the only area TV station broadcasting from downtown Minneapolis today.

In 1977, WCCO-TV unveiled the "Circle 4" logo. At the time of the unveiling, the "4" was colored blue and was placed inside a yellow circle. The first newscast title to use that logo was called NewsWatch 4.

In 1987, WCCO bought KCMT, channel 7 in Alexandria and its satellite KNMT, channel 12 in Walker. KCMT had signed on in 1957 and had been the only full-power VHF station in central Minnesota. KNMT signed on in 1962 as a satellite of KCMT in northern Minnesota, serving Bemidjimarker and Brainerdmarker. They were renamed KCCO and KCCW respectively, and their local operations were progressively cut back until 2002, when local news segments on both stations were discontinued and KCCO-TV became a full repeater of WCCO-TV, except for local commercials. Since 2002, WCCO has identified itself on-air as "Minneapolis-St. Paul/Alexandria/Walker." WCCO has opened bureaus in Brainerdmarker and St. Cloudmarker, and stories produced in Alexandria, Brainerd and St. Cloud can be seen in the Twin Cities as well.

WCCO was purchased by CBS in 1992; it had been a minority owner of the station for many years. It does not follow the CBS Mandate; it is branded as WCCO 4 rather than CBS4. Other CBS O&Os not to follow this mandate are KDKA-TVmarker in Pittsburgh (branded by its call letters), WWJ-TVmarker in Detroitmarker (branded by its call letters), WJZ-TVmarker in Baltimoremarker (branded WJZ 13), and WBZ-TVmarker in Bostonmarker (branded as simply WBZ).

Since the May 2006 ratings period, WCCO's newscasts have claimed the top spot in total household ratings for most news programs. The exception has been the mornings, where KAREmarker still leads all local competitors.

WCCO experimented with cable in the 1980s. Known initially as WCCO II or 'CCO cable, it was a way to transmit programs that wouldn't ordinarily make it onto the over-the-air frequency. During this time, WCCO II aired local forecasts when not airing sports or other programming. This later morphed into the Midwest Sports Channel (MSC), which operated for several years. Following Viacom's purchase of CBS, MSC was sold to News Corporation and became FSN North.

WCCO also operated a local weather channel on cable systems in the Twin Cities area. Unlike The Weather Channel, WCCO Weather Channel did not have any on-camera personalities and instead consisted of computer graphics with voice-over provided by WCCO-TV's meteorologists. This programming ran in a loop until updates were made available. Ads on this channel were delivered in this way as well (voice-over consisted of radio-formatted advertising). During severe weather occurrences, the channel would interrupt the recorded voice-over with live weather bulletins provided by WCCO 830 AM. Twin Cities PBS member station KTCI-TVmarker airs weather info in a similar way but with the following differences:

  • no advertising
  • format is geared towards aviators
  • audio is provided by the Minneapolis Air Route Control Center (NOAA Weather Radio KEC65 during severe weather)
  • digital multicast on channel 17.5 (originally shared airtime with PBS during the daytime and late night hours)

A later experiment in 1995, this time in the field of evening newscasts, also proved to be interesting. WCCO partnered with KLGT (channel 23, later KMWB and now WUCWmarker) and fed a second news show to that station. This was known as "News of Your Choice", where the news anchors would periodically describe the upcoming items on each channel. This allowed viewers to decide which stories they wanted to see. Multiple factors contributed to the shutdown of the experiment after about one year.

On about June 29, 2006, WCCO introduced "The Plaza Studio", a renovation to their existing studio, on 11th St. South and Marquette Ave.

On about April 25, 2009, WCCO launched local news in widescreen standard definition.

On May 30, 2009, WCCO launched local news in High Definition. Beginning with their 5pm evening newscast, they became the third station in Minneapolis to switch to HD, after KARE and KMSPmarker.

Satellite stations and translators

WCCO-TV's transmitter is located at the Telefarm paired tower installation in Shoreview also used by KSTP-TVmarker, KARE and WUCW. The market's southern and western portions gets WCCO from four low-power translators, all privately owned:

WCCO also operate these satellite stations outside of the Twin Cities area.

Station City of license Channels First air date Former callsigns ERP
Facility ID Transmitter Coordinates
KCCO-TV Alexandriamarker Digital: 7 (VHF)
Virtual: 7 (PSIP)
October 8, 1958 KCMT (1958–1987) 39 kW 339.6 m 9632
KCCW-TV Walkermarker
Digital: 12 (VHF)
Virtual: 12 (PSIP)
January 1, 1964 KNMT (1964–1987) 14.3 kW 286.4 m 9640
Note: Both of these stations were affiliated with NBC (primary) and ABC (secondary) from their sign-on dates until 1981, when they switched to CBS. Both stations were acquired by WCCO in 1987.

Notable personalities

An early local program broadcast by the station was a children's program named Axel and His Dog, featuring Clellan Card as Axel. In 1954, the first local program to be broadcast in color by the station was an episode of Axel.

Some notable personalities at the station have had long careers. Dave Moore, a Minneapolis native who worked his entire career in the city, anchored the 6:00 p.m.and 10:00 p.m. newscast from 1957 until September 1985. He continued to anchor the 6:00 p.m. news until 1991, when he moved to a more leisurely schedule broadcasting a public affairs program. In 1962, he created The Bedtime Nooz, a satirical view of newscasts that aired on Saturday nights. For more than 20 years, Dave anchored with weather forecaster Bud Kraehling. Moore died in 1998.

Bill Carlson joined the station in 1959, working in several roles over the years including news anchor. He was with the station until he died due to complications of prostate cancer on February 29, 2008.

Don Shelby joined the station as a news anchor in 1978 (at the time WCCO's newscasts were branded as NewsWatch 4) and also has done investigative reporting, although he ended that area of his career when one of his reports was heavily criticized. Shelby suffered a mild stroke in early 2004, and returned to anchor duties by the end of that year. As of 2005, Shelby continued the unique dual responsibility of hosting an afternoon radio show which ended at 5:00; for a while, immediately after the show, he anchored the 5 pm TV newscast. As of 2006, the radio show goes an extra hour, and the 5 pm news has been moved to 6 pm, still simulcast on radio but now minus Shelby. Today, Shelby only does the 10:00 news on television.

Sports commentator Mike Max, talk show host Dark Star (real name George Chapple) and other personalities also cross over between TV and radio.

Silvia Gambardella was a consumer affairs reporter, but later removed from this role after filing reports that were critical of the practices of local car dealers, inspiring the dealers to cancel their advertising contracts with the station.

In April 2008, WCCO, affected by the cutbacks at CBS News announced the layoffs of a list of employees, most notably, weekend anchor John Reger, and chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas. In March 2009, WCCO, affected by the economic downturn, announced the layoff of Jeanette Trompeter .


WCCO Weather

WCCO Sports

  • Mark Rosen (Sports Director/Weeknights)Mondays to Thursdays 5,6,10pm, Sundays 10pm news and host of Rosen Sports Sunday)
  • Mike Max(Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays at 5:30)

WCCO reporters

Former WCCO anchors and personalities

  • Jeanette Trompeter (5:00pm and Finding Minnesota)- 2005-2009
  • Terri Gruca - Weekend Evenings/Consumer Reporter 2003-2008 (now 6pm/10pm anchor at KVUE-TV in Austin)
  • Ben Tracy (Reporter- Good Question)now with CBS( Evening news reporter)
  • Bill Carlson (Noon/Entertainment Reporter) (Died on February 29, 2008)
  • Matt Baylow (Weekend Meteorologist 1989–1998, now at KFMB-TVmarker in San Diego)
  • Tony Berlin (Reporter, now Producer at WCBS-TVmarker in New York)
  • Bridgette Bornstien (Reporter)
  • Clellan Card (Children's television personality "Axel" 1954–1966)
  • Christine Clayburg (Morning Weather)
  • Alan Cox- Reporter (Retired)
  • Mary Davies (Children's television personality "Carmen the Nurse" 1954–1977)
  • Andy Dominianni (Mornings)2002-2004, now at WSYX-TVmarker Columbus, OH
  • Paul Douglas (Chief Meteorologist/Weeknights)
  • Jonathan Elias (5pm Anchor / Reporter 1993–1998, now with WBZ-TVmarker)
  • Ralph Jon "R.J." Fritz Weekend Sports (now hosts Out n' About, a travel show on WCCO)
  • Rick Fuentes- Reporter
  • John Gallos (Children's television personality "Clancy" 1959–1977)
  • Nelson Garcia- reporter (Now at KUSA-TVmarker)
  • Brian Gotter- Weekday Morning Meteorologist: 2002-2006 (Now at WTMJ-TVmarker In Milwaukee)
  • Chris Grote (Morning Weather)
  • Tom Hanneman - Sports Anchor (now does television play-by-play for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Ed Heil- Sports Reporter
  • Cindy Hillger- Morning Anchor: 1998-2002
  • Dave Huddleston - Morning Anchor- 1999-2002 (Now at KYW-TVmarker and CW Phillymarker)
  • Anne Hutchinson- Sports (At KSTP-TVmarker until December 2008)
  • Paul Huttner- Weekend Mornings (Now at MPR)
  • Mel Jass (On-air personality, c. 1950–1957)
  • Randi Kaye (Evenings, now at CNN)
  • Jim King
  • Terri Knight- Traffic (Went to WLTE radio station; was released in November 2008)
  • Rebecca Kolls (Rooftop Gardener & Chief Meteorologist, Infomercial Host for knives)
  • Bud Kraehling (weather forecaster; retired)
  • Karen Leigh- Morning Anchor; 2004-2008(now at KCNCmarker)
  • Allan Lotsberg (Children's television personality "Willie Ketchem?" 1963–1977)
  • Chandra Michaels
  • Pat Miles (anchor, 1978–1988; went to KARE-TV; later WCCO Radio; now retired)
  • Dave Moore (Weeknight Anchor: 1957–1991; Host of Moore on Sunday until 1996)
  • Bob Rainey (Reporter/Weekend Anchor) (Died July 26, 2008)
  • John Reger (Weekend Anchor)
  • Lisa Kiava (Reporter)
  • Michele Tafoya (now with WCCO Radiomarker)
  • Mary Tan- Reporter
  • Aloha Taylor (Weekend Meteorologist: 2005-2006)
  • Heather Tesch (Meteorologist, now with The Weather Channel since 1999)
  • Jeanette Trompeter (Anchor/Reporter 2005-2009. Now at KSBY-TVmarker)
  • Trish Van Pilsum - Investigative Reporter (Now at KMSP-TVmarker)
  • Mike Walcher - Anchorman (1978–1998), now reporter at WINK-TVmarker in Ft. Myers, FL
  • Noelle Walker (Mornings 2000-2003 later KNBCmarker 2003-2005, KNTVmarker 2005-2008 and briefly KPIX-TVmarker, whereabouts unknown)
  • Cathy Wurzer - Reporter (now morning anchor on Minnesota Public Radio)
  • Kevyn Burger (now host on Twin Cities FM-107)

News/station presentation

Newscast titles

  • Telenews (1949–1952)
  • Closeups in the News (1952–1964)
  • The Big News (1964–1968)
  • The Scene at Six/The Scene Tonight (1968–1973)
  • TV-4 News (1973–1977)
  • NewsWatch 4/NightWatch 4 (1977–1981)
  • WCCO News (1981-1993 and 2003-present)
  • 4 News (1993–1996)
  • WCCO 4 News (1996–2003)

Station slogans

  • Get the Picture on TV-4 News (1970s)
  • NewsWatch 4, The News People (1977-1979)
  • We're Looking Good on TV-4 (1979-1980; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Looking Good Together, TV-4 (1980-1981; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Reach for the Stars on WCCO (1981-1982; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Great Moments on WCCO (1982-1983; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • We've Got the Touch, You and WCCO (1983-1984; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • You and WCCO, We've Got the Touch (1984-1985; localized version of CBS ad campaign)
  • Serving and Informing the Twin Cities (1985-1990)
  • The Community's First Choice for News in the '90s (1990-1993)
  • Today's WCCO (Early-mid 1990s)
  • This is Your News (1993-1997)
  • The Hometown Team (1997-2000)
  • The Twin Cities News Station (2000-2006)
  • Know More (2006-present)

"On Air @ The Fair"

Every year, at the Minnesota State Fairmarker, WCCO takes most of its set and moves from their Nicollet Mall Studio to their Minnesota State Fair Newsroom/"Studio" and broadcasts its noon, 5, 6 and 10PM newscasts at the WCCO studio in Carousel Park, at the Fairgrounds. The Anchors do the news, weather and sports at the grounds, a reporter broadcasts any breaking news at the studio. WCCO is also known for feeding its "studio" audience with state fair food. When they are not on the air, the anchors and reporters sign autographs and chat with fans. The 2007 fair brought changes to the 10:00 show with Don & Amelia doing the news form the main studio and the weather/sports anchors along with one of the other news anchors at the fairgrounds.

In 2003, WCCO installed a dunk tank at the fairgrounds. They dubbed this "Dunk Don" (named after lead anchor, Don Shelby who was the only anchor dunked the first year.) Then from 2004–2006, visitors voted for who they wanted to be dunked. At 10 PM, a reporter or anchor went into the tank and 3 "lucky" viewers (or local celebrity) were chosen to have a chance to dunk the anchor. If all 3 people missed, one of the other anchors had a chance to hit the target. Dunk Don was replaced in 2007 in favor of the "Go Green" News campaign that sees how much human energy it would take to power each live newscast.

Dunk Don 2004 "Dunkees" Dunk Don 2005 "Dunkees"
  • Aug. 25- Jeanette Trompeter
  • Aug. 26- Karen Leigh
  • Aug. 29- Terri Gruca
  • Aug. 30- Don Shelby
  • Aug. 31- Paul Douglas
  • Sept. 1- Amelia Santaniello
  • Sept. 2- Amelia Santaniello
Dunk Don 2006 "Dunkees"
  • Aug. 24- Frank Vascellaro
  • Aug. 25- Amelia Santaniello
  • Aug. 28- Jeanette Trompeter
  • Aug. 29- Jason DeRusha
  • Aug. 30- Paul Douglas
  • Aug. 31- Don Shelby
  • Sept. 1- Heather Brown

On August 24, 2007, WCCO completed the first ever human powered newscast.

Digital television

At 11:59pm on June 12, 2009, WCCO-TV discontinued regular analog programming on channel 4 and began a 30-day "analog nightlight" operation. WCCO-DT broadcasts continue on its current pre-transition channel 32 using PSIP to display virtual channel 4.1 on digital television receivers and digital-to-analog converter boxes. On the same day WCCO's full-power satellites moved their digital broadcasts back to their former analog frequencies. WCCO-TV's analog channel 4 is currently looping, in English and Spanish, a nationally-produced infomercial-length public service announcement with instructions on how to convert to digital and will also air emergency news/weather alerts until it is shut off for good on July 12.


  • In the movie Wrongfully Accused, a WCCO Channel 4 News Van is used as a get-away car by the freedom fighters after a botched attempt to assassinate Sir Robert McKintyre. Also, a brief newscast was shown during the movie using the WCCO logo.

  • The Late Show with David Letterman did a Minneapolis-themed show on May 9, 1997. On the telecast, anchors Don Shelby and Amelia Santaniello performed a scripted "breaking news" bit, in which Shelby memorably declared that he had a gopher in his pants named Carlos. Kirby Puckett also guest starred.

  • Channel 4 was one of the few stations to broadcast Jeopardy! in the morning (it aired at 9:30 AM, leading into The Price is Right), but the show now airs at 4:30 PM on Channel 11 (though Wheel of Fortune can still be seen at 6:30 PM on Channel 4).

  • WCCO-TV, (along with KAREmarker) is also carried on most cable systems in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. The stations do not make any attempt to cater to this audience, other than their inclusion on regional weather maps.

The call letters of WTCN would later be picked up by KAREmarker, also WCCO's former sister station now carries the WTCNmarker calls.

External links


  1. Minnesota State Edition


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