TWIN CITIES TELEVISION MILESTONES
The following information, and especially the dates, are not represented to be 100 percent accurate or
complete. Many different sources were used, including peoples' memories,
and conflicts can arise. Additions or corrections are always welcome -
just contact us at email@example.com.
On Monday, September 29, 1930, the week-long ninth annual Northwest Radio
and Electrical Show opened in the Minneapolis Auditorium. One of the main attractions was the first demonstration of television in the upper Midwest.
Joseph Lukacs, a television engineer from New York, installed the portable
transmitter and receiving equipment. In the auditorium, Lukacs supervised
the construction of a projection room where the programs originated, a
receiving room where the signal was fed, and a small theater where the
crowds could see the results. The first night's demonstration of television
included a shot of Minneapolis mayor William F. Kunze shaking hands with a
young Clellan Card. (from Julian West, author of What a Card, the biography of Clellan Card)
In June 1933, Dr. George A. Young, who had operated his own radio station for
over a decade, obtained a construction permit to operate experimental TV
station W9XAT. The station could transmit a TV signal with a visual power of
500 watts, with the accompanying audio sent out over his radio station.
system used a mechanical disk scanner – the performer stood in the dark, and
dots of light were transmitted by the camera. Broadcasts included local puppeteer Bob Longfield,
local radio star “Slim Jim”
Iverson, and a black and white bulldog belonging to a staff person.
Dr. Young gave up his television
license in 1936, three years before the advent of the electronic
iconoscope system. Station W9XAT closed down in 1938.
original 1933 certificate donated by Paul March click here for larger image
Stanley E. Hubbard, owner of KSTP Radio buys an RCA TV camera (the first
ever sold to a broadcasting station) and begins experimenting with
photo courtesy Hubbard Broadcasting click here for larger image
The first demonstration of electronic television in Minnesota was by Stanley E. Hubbard of KSTP.
It was a closed circuit telecast of an American Legion parade playing to six TV sets in the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
was to have a great many "firsts" in the following years.
During World War II, television was put on hold, but started its comeback in
1946. That year, televisions cost as much as $400, but about 43,000 were sold.
On April 19, 1947, Joe Beck opened the Twin City Television Lab,
designed to train personnel in the skills needed in the new television
industry. Located in the Lyceum Theatre Building at 85 Eleventh Street South in Minneapolis, the complex
occupied over 11,000 square feet of studios, classrooms, and offices. Mel Jass played a major role in designing and managing the Lab.
Unfortunately, the Lab closed in the fall of 1950. One reason was an FCC
freeze on new stations that lasted three and a half years. Beck Studios, Inc.
had submitted an application to broadcast a commercial station on Channel 7,
but it was denied. Another reason was that young men - potential broadcasters -
were being drafted for the Korean War. The worst reason was that Joe Beck was
in a horrific traffic accident on May 27, 1949 that killed his wife and put him
in the hospital for five months. Joe Beck tells of his experiences in an
article called "Pioneering in Television in the Twin Cities,"
published in the Fall 1979 issue of Minnesota History (the journal of
the Minnesota Historical Society.)
On December 7, 1947, 8 PM, Jack
Horner was the first person to appear live on TV in the Twin Cities when he
hosted a special program on KSTP, Channel 5. The show lasted twenty-five minutes as Jack introduced film highlights of the Army-Navy footbal game, did commentary on the latest Gopher-Wisconsin game and showed a kinescope of the marriage ceremony between Prince Philip and the future Queen of England, Elizabeth.
KSTP was the first TV station in Minnesota, signing on the air April 27, 1948 from the Prom Ballroom.
It was the first NBC affiliate not owned by the network.
That day was also the television premiere of the Sunset
Valley Barn Dance
. The Barn Dance
had been on KSTP AM radio since the fall of 1940. It became one of the most popular shows on radio and television for years to come.
April 27th was also the premiere of the first movie shown on Twin Cities television, Knight of the Plains, starring Fred Scott.
next day, Jimmy Valentine conducted the first interview program, asking people about their hobbies.
Valentine was an immediate staple on Channel 5, hosting many shows over his long career.
There were about 2,500 TV sets in the metropolitan area at the time.
In its early days, local news was broadcast only once a week.
The KSTP Tele-Foto News was broadcast on Mondays.
On September 30, 1948, the FCC put a freeze on new TV station applications that
lasted until April,1952.
Thirty-two television stations in the U.S. were scheduled to use RCA transmitters, including 2 in Minnesota: WTCN and KSTP.
Channel 1 was deleted and assigned to land mobile use.
The cast of Play or Pay
WTCN-TV began broadcasting on Channel 4 on July 1, 1949.
to live local programming, WTCN carried network programming via kinescope
Its primary affiliation was with ABC, but also broadcast shows from CBS
Don Anderson John Gallos Toby Prin Jeanne Arland Peterson Bill Metchnek
Pianist Toby Prin hosted many local shows over the
years, starting almost immediately after WTCN went on the air, then continuing with WCCO.
In October 1949, 18,000 Twin Cities households had a television set. Six
months later, the number was 44,300, an increase of almost 250 percent. One
could also rent a TV for a special event. Comparative statistics: It
would take 26 years for a quarter of the nation’s population to own a TV. It
only took 16 years for the personal computer.
In May, the first national television listings were published as the TV
Coaxial cable came to the Twin Cities on September 30, 1950, enabling KSTP to
connect to NBC’s network feed.
On October 3, 1950, KSTP was the first in the U.S. with a regularly scheduled
daily newscast at 10 pm.
Today's Headlines was hosted by Bill Ingram .
Local film coverage was done by Dick Hance, while Kenn Barry directed the show.
In 1950, there were 88,700 TV sets in the Twin Cities, ranking 14th in the
Mel Jass hosted many TV shows during his 30+ year career.
Although he may have appeared earlier,
he first shows up in the
TV magazines in December, 1951 when he hosted Show People
on Channel 4.
September, 1952 he followed with the first Mel Jass Show,
also on Channel 4. Then came Mel's Almanac, a new Mel Jass Show,
and on and on. Many people remember him as
the host of
Channel 11's 1:00 Matinee Movie, which ran until 1979.
In 1951, a strike closed Minneapolis schools, leaving 30,000 kids idle.
In the breach, WTCN (Channel 4) aired
two-hour Video School programs.
On August 5th, the Minneapolis Tribune reported that an application for a television station had been "filed with the FCC by the Meredith Engineering Company of Des Moines, Iowa. The company is owned by Meredith Publishing Company, publishers of Better Homes and Gardens and Successful Farming. The company owns stations WHEN, WOW-TV and KPHO-TV. The application for Minneapolis is for channel 11, with a transmitter on the Foshay Tower and a plant to cost about $732,000."
On August 15, WTCN-TV's parent company sold its radio stations, allowing the purchase of WCCO Radio. The merger between WTCN-TV and WCCO Radio formed Midwest Radio and Television Inc. Two days later, on August 17, Channel 4's call
letters changed to WCCO-TV. The station was primarily affiliated with
CBS, although it also carried programs from ABC and DuMont. During its first week of operation, WCCO-TV presented about 35 hours of programming. The letters WCCO stand for Washburn Crosby Company, predecessor to General Mills, and the original owners of what is now WCCO-AM.
On September 5, 1952, the TV Times (see 1950) became the TV
Forecast. And on April 3, 1953, the Forecast became the TV
In February, Senators Edward J. Thye and Hubert H. Humphrey had the honors of pressing the key in Washington, D.C., to signal WCCO-TV’s increase in power to 100,000 watts. WCCO-TV became the fourth station in the United States to operate with maximum power permitted under the Federal Communications Commission rule.
As the station grew in popularity and sophistication, Studio II was added in April to accommodate the station’s needs.
There were no elevators, so all props for this studio had to be carried up the stairs.
On September 1, 1953, WTCN was reborn as Channel 11, an ABC affiliate.
At first the channel was shared with WMIN. The stations articulated their
programs on a cooperative basis, sharing time and transmissions facilities,
but maintained two different studios; WTCN's were located on the third and part of the second
floor of the Calhoun Beach Hotel, while the WMIN studios were in the Hamm Building in Saint Paul. WMIN's general manager was Larry Bentson.
Daryl Laub was a kiddie show fixture on Channel 11. In 1953 he played "Skipper Daryl"
and "J.P. Patches" back to back. His shows benefited from the
release of Warner Brothers cartoons to TV for the first time.
There were only about 200 TV stations in the entire country, but it is
estimated that over 50 percent of Americans owned TV sets.
The first color broadcast in the Twin Cities was the Dragnet Christmas episode, which ran on KSTP on December 10.
KSTP broadcast the Tournament of Roses Parade in color on January 1.
Lunch With Casey starring Roger Awsumb as Casey Jones, signed on May 14, 1954,
replacing the market reports on WTCN.
The show was originally called Noon-Time
Express, airing on WMIN, which was a station that shared airtime with WTCN.
When WMIN sold out to WTCN, the operation moved to the Calhoun Beach Hotel and
the show’s name was changed to Casey’s Lunch Club. The description in
the TV Guide was "Rog Awsumb
as Casey Jones."
When Casey’s original sidekick left, Lynn Dwyer was hired to play Roundhouse
Rodney. Dwyer had an education degree from Macalester College and had been a professional
skater with the Ice Capades. He had been a floor
director at the station before being “discovered.”
ABC took over WTCN’s daytime schedule and Casey was dropped, but in response to irate letters, the show was revised to be
broadcast after school from Grandma Lumpit’s Boarding House – with Dwyer as Grandma.
In 1961 the station lost its ABC affiliation,
and they were back in business, now titled Lunch With Casey. The afternoon show
stayed on, as did a new morning show, Wake up with Casey and Roundhouse.
By the early 1970s, live TV kiddie shows were on
their way out; partly because fewer kids were coming home for lunch, and partly
because of efforts by Action for Children's Television to prevent hosts from doing commercials. The
last Lunch With Casey was presented on December 29, 1972.
Dwyer continued on with his own Roundhouse Show on Public Television in
On September 3, 1976, at age 48, he had a fatal heart attack while jogging in
On June 30, at 5:07 a.m., WCCO-TV pool-fed live footage of the total eclipse of the sun to both CBS and NBC.
CBS news correspondent Tom Costigan led the first nationally televised eclipse from the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower
Also in 1954, Axel and His Dog made its debut on August 12 on WCCO Channel 4. TV Guide said: "Thursdays at 5:00 pm, gives old favorite Clellan Card a
chance to trot out his inimitable Scandinavian accent. Built around
animated cartoons, the show features Axel, his faithful dog Towser,
who can almost talk, and a host of animal friends." Towser was played by Don Stolz, owner of the Old Log
Theater, until spring 1962. The show originally alternated with shows like Terry and the Pirates, Superman,; and the Cisco Kid.
On October 8, 1954, Axel was the first live local show broadcast in color. Clellan Card had played Axel on
his radio show since 1937. He passed away on April 13, 1966, just weeks after
his final program.
On December 29th, WCCO produced the show Country Holiday, which was
the first commercially sponsored color broadcast to originate in the Twin
Cities. The show starred Clellan Card and Mary Davies.
Despite the introduction of color in 1954, only about 1,000 color sets were
sold nationwide. But sales jumped to 20,000 in 1955.
In January 9, 1955, locally owned KEYD went on the air broadcasting on
Channel 9. It was affiliated with the DuMont Network. The station would eventually become KMSP. DuMont drastically cut back its programming in April of '55 and was out of business by August of 1956. KEYD became an independent station until 1961.
The first Minnesota community to
get cable television was Lanesboro.
At the end of April 1955, WTCN and WMIN, which had been sharing a frequency,
parted company. WMIN got out of the television business and WTCN took over the station, retaining the talent of Stuart A. Lindman and Roger Awsumb and the network affiliation of ABC.
Also that year, KSTP began broadcasting NBC network programs in color.
WCCO-TV had been operating in the Radio City Theater building since 1949 and was quickly outgrowing its space. Despite ideas to move the station out of downtown Minneapolis, WCCO-TV decided that the city was the heart of the television station and received permission to refurbish Radio City.
After two years searching for a newscaster, building a set, hiring personnel, and talking sponsors out of weekend movies,
WCCO-TV began the 10 o’clock weekend news with anchorman Dave Moore.
On April 4, 1957, Mr. Earl R. Mohr of
won a Garry Moore look-alike contest.
The first videotaped TV commercial was made - for Kellogg's Cornflakes.
American Bandstand premiered in the Twin Cities on August 5, 1957 on Channel 11. The first song played was "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" by Jerry Lee Lewis. In the early days, it could be seen daily at 4pm. From October through December 1957, there was also a prime time version, airing on Mondays at 6:30. From February 1958 to September 1960, the prime time Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show aired with the same format as Bandstand. Bandstand started as a local show in Philadelphia in 1952. Dick Clark began hosting in 1956. In 1963 it went to once a week on Saturdays. In 1964 it moved to Los Angeles. It ran until 1989.
September 15, KTCA Channel 2 held a two-hour kickoff event at the St. Paul Town and Country Club
September 16, America’s 26th public TV station, KTCA Channel 2 goes on the air at 1:30 pm
WTCN was bought by Time, Inc. Mel Jass was hired to anchor the 10 PM news, with Stu Lindman doing the weather and Frank Buetel on sports.
In 1957, National Telefilm Association (NTA) acquired control of KEYD Channel 9 by paying $650,000 for 75%
On December 2, 1957 Loews, Inc., (an arm of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer) purchased 25%
interest of Channel 9..
By the time of the sale, the call letters had already changed to KMGM (TV Guide lists Channel 9 as KMGM on Sept. 8, 1956.)
Loews sold its interest in KMGM on Feb 10, 1958. The station was renamed KMSP, derived from the abbreviation of
the Twin Cities Airport: MSP.
featured Minneapolis Wrestling , starring Verne Gagne. Gagne won a Big Ten wrestling championship in 1944. After two years
in the Marines, he was a defensive end for the Gophers – and “perhaps the
greatest wrestler in school history,” he turned professional in 1950.
In 1960, he began producing All Star Wrestling, a one-hour program for the newly formed American Wrestling Association. Thanks to his promotional and business expertise, the show became wildly popular, as evidenced by the local hit song "The
Crusher" bellowed out by the Novas (from
) in 1965. It was eventually carried by 120 stations nationwide, nationally syndicated for 30 years, and even picked up by ESPN.
Bill Carlson, who began his broadcasting career producing on-air programs at WCCO Radio, started working part-time on-air at WCCO-TV in 1959.
WCCO-TV became the first station in the Northwest to be equipped with the Ampex Videotape Recorder. This machine could record and play TV shows on magnetic tape, prompting CBS to feed news film to WCCO-TV during non-network hours. The machine cost $50,000 and a part-time employee was hired just to operate it. This videotape capability changed the industry and had a profound effect on the newsroom.
KMSP Channel 9 brought in Dave Lee and his puppet Peter to host their 6pm weeknight kids' show LooneyTuners Club. They stayed till they moved over to Channel 11 in 1962.
Commodore Cappy, starring John Gallos, debuted on Channel 4 in the fall 1959. The show morphed into Clancy the
Keystone Cop, and on September 3, 1963, it was Clancy the
Cop. Clancy had a sidekick detective, Willie Ketchum (Allen Lotsberg). Gallos had been with
WCCO since 1950. The show aired until March 25, 1977.
Soupy Sales also debuted on Twin Cities TV in 1959. Kids and adults alike watched him
on Channel 11 on Saturdays at noon.
On November 9, 1959 Twentieth Century-Fox purchased KMSP-TV from National
Theaters for $4.1 million.
In June 1960, the second iteration of the TV Times began
publication. Unknown when it stopped.
At the height of the live kiddie shows, fueled by the
onslaught of boomer children, we find that Axel went up against Casey in the
August 4,1960 WTCN Channel 11 offers to switch channels and is rebuffed.
Channel 11 wanted the better technical signal of Channel 2.
KTCA rejects deal even though WTCN offered cash as incentive
On April 18, 1961, KMSP became the area’s ABC affiliate, an arrangement that
would last until 1979.
WTCN lost the ABC affiliation to KMSP and became independent.
KSTP became the country’s first all-color station.
April, 1962 Minneapolis newspaper strike leads to nightly show on KTCA Channel 2 featuring the
This show was done Monday through Friday at 5:30 pm featuring management of
station reading news, comics, sports scores etc.
On July 23, 1962, WCCO participated in the first live international TV
broadcast via the Telstar satellite. WCCO-TV’s mobile units provided the feed for all three networks, ABC, CBS, and Dumont, for a special program from the Black Hills showing Mount Rushmore to the world.
Dave Moore hosted and performed on The Bedtime Nooz, a late Saturday night satirical review of the day’s news. The show is still remembered by many as a forerunner to “Saturday Night Live.”
1962 also saw Dave Lee and Pete move over to Channel 11 at 4pm from Channel 9, where they had been since 1959. The new show was called Popeye and Pete, featuring cartoons, goodie bags of candy to the kids, and
puppets Pete the Penguin (who liked to pull ponytails) and Omar the Alligator.
The crew liked to staple Omar's mouth shut as a joke on Dave.
KMSP acquired a General Electric solid-state color film chain
WTCN was purchased by Chris-Craft Industries on October 2, 1964. The
station still had no network affiliation.
A Date With Dino was a local rock 'n' roll show on Channel 9 starring Dino Day and a teenage Nancy Nelson. It started twice weekly in December 1964, and on January 25, 1965, the show went daily at 4pm . It ran the school year to June 7, 1965, then came back on in October of '65 as Upbeat.
The ad on the right reads "Dino Day hosts television's swingest [not swingingest] Dance Show...'live' from Channel 9 Studios... exciting top record stars perform their hit records... keep informed with Teen News International and Sports All-American." (that's a Ray Conniff record behind him.)
In 1965, KTCI (Channel 17) received its license on May 3, 1965. It was a
sister station to KTCA and the first UHF station in the market. It was originally assigned to the Tedesco Brothers in the early 1950s as commercial station WCOW-TV, to be affiliated with the DuMont network, but [WCOW-TV] never made it on the air.
In November 1966, WCCO went to all color.
WTCN acquired an all-color film chain
In January, 1967, KMSP went to all color.
On April 11, 1967, KTCA and KTCI were the first educational stations in the
country to broadcast live in color.
In 1967, two local TV magazines were started. The TV Digest ran until at least 1973. And the third iteration of the TV Times came out in April 1967. This third Times was a bit questionable;
it had almost no content, and was distributed primarily in motels.
The Scene Tonight evening newscast began in January with Dave Moore, Bud Kraehling, Hal Scott, Skip Loescher, and George Rice.
In 1970, WTCN went to all color.
May 19, to save money, KTCI goes off the air for the summer
Metromedia made a deal for WTCN-11 in 1971 but they didn't actually take over from Chris-Craft until June 22, 1972.
The Betamax home VCR was introduced by Sony in
1975. VHS was introduced by JVC the following year. VHS won,
but it was a long battle.
On August 29, 1978, ABC announced that it would move its affiliation from KMSP
to KSTP. The switch was effective on March 5, 1979.
Don Shelby joined WCCO-TV as weekend newscast anchor and investigative reporter.
He later became anchor of WCCO 4 News at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
A huge realignment of network affiliations took place on March 5, 1979.
KSTP became an ABC affiliate, WTCN became an NBC affiliate, and KMSP went
Cable TV came to
St. Louis Park
on September 14, 1979, after two unsuccessful attempts.
Bloomington, Fridley, and Apple
Valley were wired in 1974. Northern Cablevision was
the provider - in 1981 it was located at
3516 Beltline Blvd.
Twenty new channels were
available at first, available in stages by section of the city. Monthly charge:
Three new independents began UHF broadcasting:
(1)WFBT signed on
September 13, 1982. The call letters stood for (W) Family Bible
Television. The station was on Channel 29 and featured a morning show
with Roger Awsumb in Breakfast With Casey. The
station was sold in 1984 and changed to KITN. In 1988 it became the local
Fox affiliate and changed the call letters to WFTC (We're Fox Twin
Cities). In 2002, WFTC became a UPN station and became known as
(2)On September 22rd, KTMA Channel 23 signed on as a scrambled pay-per-view UHF channel called Spectrum.
The call sign stood for "K-Twin Metro Area." Although the pay-per-view feature lasted only two years, the KTMA designation endured through several owners until the station was purchased by Lakeland Group Broadcasting in November of 1991.
On March 2, 1992 KLGT replaced KTMA on Channel 23.
The most significant contribution made by KTMA had to have been the introduction of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000 in November of 1988.
In 1995 KLGT became one of the original members of the WB Network.
Following the sale of the station to Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) in 1998, the call letters changed again to KMWB ("Minnesota's WB").
From Wikipedia: "On January 24, 2006, it was announced that The WB and UPN networks would merge into The CW Television Network. It was very likely that KMWB would become the new network's Twin Cities affiliate, as News Corporation, parent company of Fox announced that all of its current UPN affiliates, including WFTC in the Twin Cities, would affiliate with My Network TV when both networks launched. Although Sinclair's later group deal with My Network TV involving several other stations around the country provided some doubt, on May 2, 2006, KMWB was confirmed as the Minneapolis-Saint Paul affiliate for The CW Television Network." [CW became WUCW on June 19, 2006]
(3)KXLI (XLI is 41 in roman numerals) went on the air on November 24, 1982. It was initially called "K-41". TV Heaven 41 did not begin until April 1988 and the station abruptly went off the air in December 1988, in spite of the promotional blitz surrounding TV Heaven. It went back on the air in September 1990 and did several different formats including two short-lived revivals of TV Heaven and a simulcast of KTMA-23. In the mid-1990s it was purchased by Lowell "Bud" Paxon. They changed their call letters to KPXM in 1998. They joined the PAX network
(now ION Television) later that same year.
WTCN was bought by Gannett Broadcasting.
WCCO-TV moves from the old Radio City Theater at 50 S. 9th street into the new building at 90 South Eleventh Street on the Nicollet Mall. The building was designed by award winning architectural firm, Hardy, Holzman, Pfeiffer Associates of New York to resemble a TV tower. The building was constructed from red variegated sandstone quarried in Mankato, as well as copper that was mined and crafted in Minnesota. The inside of the building is approximately 200,000 square feet and contains mahogany and ebony wood from the Philippines that was found stored in an abandoned building. WCCO-TV remains the only station located in downtown Minneapolis
KSTP developed CONUS, the world's first satellite news gathering capability,
thereby becoming the first station in the world to have live daily satellite feeds in local news broadcasts.
In April, WFBT (Channel 29) was renamed KITN.
On July 4, 1985, WTCN changed its call letters to WUSA.
In September, KTMA ended its affiliation with Spectrum, unscrambled its signal,
and began regular broadcast programming.
In 1986, KMSP became the local affiliate for the new Fox network, but lost it
WUSA became KARE on June 11.
The Fox affiliation moved from KMSP to KITN, and KMSP became independent.
November marks the beginning of locally produced Mystery Science Theater 3000
On March 2, KLGT replaced KTMA on Channel 23.
Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) purchased WCCO-TV and also acquired WCCO-AM, KCCO-TV (Alexandria), KCCW-TV (Walker), Midwest Sports Channel (MSC) and WLTE-FM, WFRV-TV (Greenbay, WI)
KITN became WFTC on October 1.
KVBM, Channel 45, started as an affiliate of the Home Shopping Network.
It would become KSTC in 2000.
In January, KLGT became affiliated with Warner Brothers, and KMSP became
affiliated with United Paramount.
KMSP became a charter UPN (United Paramount Network) station on January 16,
1995. The station was sold to Chris Craft, which traded it for the Fox
affiliation in 2002.
WCCO-TV added a new component to the rapidly changing media market launching an official web site, www.wcco.com.
The first digital broadcast in the region was sent out at 7:30 pm on Channel 16
On September 11, KVBM, Channel 45, became KSTC. The station was owned an
operated by Hubbard Broadcasting, which also owned KSTP. The station has
no network affiliation, although it provides back-up service to KSTP during
KMSP became a Fox affiliate.
On October 15, Channel 45's KSTC-HD became the first commercial TV station in
the Twin Cities to broadcast high definition programming full time. It
was designated Channel 45.2.
MAJOR STATION THUMBNAIL HISTORIES
KTCA, Channel 2, the area's first educational TV station, was incorporated
in 1955 as Twin City Area Educational Television. It signed on on September 15 , 1957. In 1965, KTCI (Channel 17) was
a sister station to KTCA and the second educational station was
introduced. (Channel 17 was originally owned by the Tedesco Brothers for
commercial station WCOW, but it never got on the air.) Channel 17 was the
area’s first UHF station.
On April 11, 1967, the two stations were the first educational stations in the
country to broadcast in color. In 1974, the stations became part of
PBS. In 1977, the corporate name was changed to Twin Cities Public
The first station to occupy the Channel 4 position on the TV dial was the original WTCN -TV which began broadcasting July 1, 1949 from the Radio City Theater in downtown Minneapolis.
The WTCN call letters go back to 1934, when the Minneapolis Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press bought radio station WRHM. The new
call letters stood for Twin Cities Newspapers. (Other variations are
(W)Twin Cities of the North or World and Twin Cities News.)
The newspapers sold WTCN radio in 1952, purchased WCCO radio and TV, and merged
the two companies into Midwest Radio and Television, Inc. On August 17,
1952, the TV station changed its call letters to WCCO-TV to match the company's
The call letters come
from the Washburn Crosby Company (now General Mills), an early owner of the radio
station. The station has always been a CBS affiliate.
On October 8, 1954, Axel and His Dog was the first live local show broadcast in
color. Also in 1954, WCCO produced the show Country Holiday, which was the
first commercially sponsored color broadcast to originate in the Twin
Cities. The station went to all color in 1966.
building, still in downtown Minneapolis,was ready in 1983.
The station was owned in one form or another by the Minneapolis Star and Tribune until they were purchased by CBS in 1992.
Hubbard Broadcasting was started as KSTP, Inc. It later became and continues to this day to be Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.
In 1938, Stanley E. Hubbard bought the first television set commercially available from RCA, and he also bought the first television camera ever sold by RCA. The first telecast in Minnesota was a close circuit telecast to six TV sets in the old Radisson Hotel in 1939, and it featured an American Legion parade which was staged for the broadcast.
The Twin Cities' first over-the-air telecast took place on December 7, 1947; a 25-minute program
hosted by Jack Horner.
KSTP was the first TV station in Minnesota to broadcast regularly scheduled
programs, permanently signing on the air on April 27, 1948.
KSTP TV became the first NBC
affiliate not owned by the network - its contract with NBC was signed on March
17, 1948, and was touted as the "first station affiliation contract in the
history of television."
From April 1948 to 1956, it also carried DuMont programming. DuMont collapsed, and was done
by August 8, 1956.
October 3, 1950 was the date of KSTP's first regularly
scheduled daily newscast at 10 pm.
It was the first regularly scheduled evening newscast in the nation.
On December 10, 1953, the first color broadcast in the Twin Cities was the Dragnet Christmas episode.
On January 1, 1954, NBC and KSTP broadcast the Tournament of Roses Parade in color.
In 1955, KSTP began broadcasting NBC network programs in color.
In 1961, KSTP TV became America's first independent all-color television station, and the first station to have color film processing so that news could be brought to viewers in color in less than an hour after the event had occurred.
On March 5, 1979, KSTP became the new ABC affiliate.
In the 1980s, Hubbard Broadcasting pioneered the development of mobile satellite uplink systems, which quickly became the standard for satellite news gathering units.
The station has always been known as KSTP, has always been on Channel 5, and
has always been owned by Hubbard Broadcasting.
On November 24, 1953 Lee Whiting (home address: 5316 Kellogg Avenue, Edina) of
The Family Broadcasting Corporation, 15 North 9th Street, Minneapolis, filed an application with the FCC for a construction permit for a new commercial television station to be operated on Channel 9. The application included a nine section RCA Super Gain antenna driven by a 50 kilowatt DuMont model 12000 transmitter. An ammended application, dated February 16, 1954 specified a 50 kilowatt RCA model TT50AH transmitter.
On September 20, 1954 Minneapolis Tower Company (Morris T. Baker) bought 75%
interest for $300,000.
Channel 9 signed on the air Sunday, January 9, 1955 with the
call letters KEYD-TV.
Family Broadcasting was the owner, which also operated
The transmitter/antenna was located in the Foshay Tower, while the studios were located in an adjacent building.
At that time, the 447 foot tall Foshay was the tallest structure in Minnesota.
Programming was a mix of local talk, music, sports, movies and news.
The DuMont Network provided national programming
A young Harry Reasoner was hired as News Director,
and reported that the station's highest rating happened the day the Democratic
Party bought up time on the three major stations to broadcast a speech by Adlai
Stevenson. Viewers tuned him out by the score, and Reasoner said that KEYD's film on water safety was a big hit
Sports programming was an important part of the broadcast schedule. Minneapolis
Millers and St. Paul Saints baseball, Lakers basketball and pro wrestling found
their way to the channel 9 airwaves. Some days the engineering remote crew
would do a baseball game from Nicollet Field in the afternoon and wrestling
matches from the Minneapolis Auditorium later that evening.
DuMont drastically cut back its programming in April of 1955 and was out of business by August of 1956 leaving the station to operate as an
independent until 1961. (TV Guide lists 9 as an independent beginning November 5, 1955.)