- WCCO (AM)
Infobox Radio station
name = WCCO
branding = Newsradio 830 WCCO
slogan = "The Good Neighbor"
"Today's 8-3-0 WCCO"
airdate = 1922
frequency = 830 kHz AM
simulcasted on WLTE-HD2 102.9-2 (
format = Commercial; News/Talk
power = 50,000
class = A
callsign_meaning = Washburn Crosby COmpany (previous owner)
former_callsigns = WLAG (1922-24)
webcast = [http://cbsplayer.streamtheworld.com/index.php?CALLSIGN=WCCOAM Listen Live!]
website = [http://www.wccoradio.com/ www.wccoradio.com]
affiliations = CBS
WCCO is a
radio stationwith a storied history spanning more than 80 years that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paularea of Minnesota. The station is owned by CBS Radioand broadcasts on the designated " clear channel" frequency of 830 kHz with 50,000 watts of power, allowing it to reach a wide area of North America at night when other stations on the frequency are required to reduce power or shut down for the night.
From 1947 to 1996, WCCO radio and
WCCO-TVwon twelve George Foster Peabody Awards, more than any other Twin Cities broadcast outlet.
The station's studios are located in downtown Minneapolis, while its transmitter is located in
Coon Rapids, Minnesota.
WCCO began broadcasting in the region on
September 4, 1922as WLAG, known as "the Call of the North", from a hotel near Loring Park, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. However, the station soon landed in financial trouble and closed down in 1924. Washburn Crosby Company, forerunner of General Mills, took over the station and renamed it to WCCO (for Washburn Crosby COmpany), and broadcasts resumed less than two months later on October 2, 1924from its current transmitter site in Coon Rapids (then known as Anoka Township). But for that brief interruption, WCCO would be the oldest station on the air today in Minnesota. It originally broadcast at 710 AM.
In the early days of radio, WCCO was a powerful force in the development of better and more powerful transmitters. On
November 11, 1928with the implementation of the FRC's General Order 40, WCCO changed its frequency to 810 kHz and was granted clear-channel status. It signed on with 50,000 watts for the first time in September 1932. In the 1930s, two additional 300-foot towers were added to increase the range of the station's signal, allowing it to be picked up as far away as Hawaiiand the Caribbean Seawhen atmospheric conditions were right. Later in 1932, CBS bought WCCO from General Mills, and it remains affiliated with the CBS Radio Networkto this day.
WCCO activated a new 654-foot tower in Coon Rapids in 1939 This is the same tower used today, although the broadcast frequency was changed to 830 kHz as a result of the 1941
North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement.
Due to the tower's height and power, as well as Minnesota's mostly flat landscape, WCCO boasts one of the largest coverage areas in the country. During the day, it provides at least grade B coverage of almost all of Minnesota (as far north as Duluth and as far south as Rochester), plus large portions of
Iowaand Wisconsin. Under the right conditions, it reaches into portions of North and South Dakota. At night, the station's signal typically reaches across 28 U.S. statesand three Canadian provinces. Certain conditions can make the signal stretch much farther— legendary station personality Howard Vikensays that he once picked up the station while he was stationed at Guadalcanalin 1943. In 2005, WCCO began broadcasting in the HD RadioHybrid waveform during the daytime hours.
During those days, WCCO broadcasters were substantial celebrities across the
Midwest. Perhaps the greatest of them all was Cedric Adams who first appeared on WCCO in 1931, and broadcast on the station until his death in 1961. Pilots flying over the upper Midwest reported watching the lights go out all over the region each night when Adams finished his 10:00pm newscast. Howard Viken, Maynard Speece, Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson, Jergen Nash, Joyce Lamont, Randy Merriman and others were so well known and loved that when distinguished broadcaster Steve Cannon"the Iron Ranger" and his cast of charactors, including Backlash LaRue and Ma Linger arrived at WCCO from KSTP in 1971, he was still thought of my many as the "new guy" nearly until his retirement 26 years later. WCCO Radio is known in its home market by its call letters, the phrase "Radio 8-3-0" or "Minnesota's 8-3-0" or the nicknames " 'CCO" or "The Good Neighbor", and plays a news and talk-oriented format, with a strong news element, opinion and a number of shows throughout the day, with occasional short storieslike the station's "Point of Law" program which serves to both entertain and educate the station's listeners about finer points of the American legal system. The format also included a broad mix of music, which leaned MOR until the 1980s, when the playlist shifted more toward adult contemporary. The music was gradually phased out by the early 1990s, when the format was changed to all news/talk.
WCCO has also had a longtime reputation of being the station to tune to for emergency information, especially severe weather. Listeners would call in during severe weather events and describe what they see in their locations, supplementing information from the National Weather Service. For many years, they were famous for their "klaxon" alert tone for tornado warnings, which was a purposely irritating, attention-grabbing sound designed to alert even the drowsiest listeners, of impending danger. This sound was created by putting a two-part metal ashtray on a bulk tape eraser and pushing the erase button, creating a foghorn-like tone, which was then recorded for subsequent use.
For a series of public service, live, emergency broadcasts in 1965 - the St. Patrick's Day Blizzard, the record April floods on the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, and the May 6 onslaught of 24 tornado touchdowns in the Twin Cities area - the station earned a 'trifecta' of the George Foster Peabody, the DuPont, and the Sigma Delta Chi, awards, all in one year.
WCCO engineers were experimenting with
frequency modulationby 1939, operating W9XHW at 42.3 MHz, but at just 50 watts. The station continued to only consider the medium tepidly. In 1969, WCCO-FM was broadcasting at 2700 watt, atop the 450-foot Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis, and only for the minimum number of hours required to keep a license to the frequency. The FM station moved it's antenna to 1300 feet near the top of the Shoreview, Minnesota, Twin City antenna farm, with a power of 100,000 watts, in 1973, and a full day's programming of music and a large news operation could be heard clearly for 150 miles in all directions. It eventually became today's WLTE102.9 FM.
WCCO was the top-rated station in the Twin Cities for decades until shifting demographics and interests finally brought
KQRS-FMto the top spot. One sign of the changing times: the well-known farmreport was dropped in early 2004, reflecting the fact that many farmers now rely more on the Internetfor such information and that the number of farmers in Minnesota has drastically shrunk since the station first began broadcasting (though agriculture remains vital to the region).
For several years, WCCO has hosted a weekly radio show with the
governor of Minnesota. Jesse Venturahad a show while in office, and successor Tim Pawlentyhas followed suit.
More recent WCCO personalities have included longtime
Star Tribunecolumnist Sid Hartman, "Whole-Lotta Woman" Ruth Koscielak, Tim Russell, also a cast member on Garrison Keillor's " A Prairie Home Companion". Some notable sports Broadcasters have included Baseball Hall of Fame member Herb Carnealthe long time voice of the Minnesota Twins, Halsey Hall, Ray Scott and Ray Christensen, long time voice of University of Minnesota's Gopher Football and Gopher Men's Basketball. Some of WCCO's current programming includes the morning show with Dave Lee during the week days from five to nine. The afternoon drive with Don Shelby from three to six, and Sports to the Max with Mike Max from seven to nine. "Dark Star" (stage name of George Chapple) hosts Sports Tonight Monday through Thursdays from nine p.m. to one a.m and on Fridays from nine p.m. to twelve a.m.
WCCO is the radio home of
University of MinnesotaGolden Gophers athletics, Minnesota Wild hockey, and formerly Minnesota Twins baseball. The Twins had been on WCCO since arriving in Minnesota in 1961, but because of a dispute between WCCO parent CBS and XM Satellite Radioover compensation for its Major League Baseball broadcasts,Fact|date=May 2008 CBS has ordered its stations not to renew its MLB contracts.
In August 2008, As a cosmetic change to make WCCO norm with the rest of CBS' Talk radio stations, WCCO changed from branding itself "News/Talk 830 WCCO" to "News Radio 830 WCCO".
Roger Strom is back with WCCO AM doing farm reports at 12:30p and 6:30p Monday to Fridays on WCCO AM radio.
On Air Staff
*Dave Lee – 5am to 9am Monday to Fridays
*Mondale and Jones – 9am to 12noon Monday to Thursday; 10am to 12noon Fridays
*Good Morning Minnesota – 9am to 10am
*Jack Rice – 12N to 3PM
*Don Shelby – 3pm to 6pm
*WCCO NEWS – Hour 6pm
*Mike Max – 7pm to 9:30pm
*Dark Star – 9:30 to 1am
*Al Malmberg – 1am to 5am
*Mike Lynch – weather
*Tim Russell – Entertainment reporter
*Dan Terharr – Sports
*Steve Murphy – News Editor/Reporter
*Telly Mamayek – Morning news anchor/reporter
*Jeff McKinney – Afternoon News Editor
*Eric Eskola – State Capital Reporter
*Bruce Hagevik – News anchor/reporter
*Adam Carter – News Reporter
*Cory Kampschoer – News Reporter
*John Wanamaker – News Reporter
*Jerry Peterson – Traffic Afternoons
*Craig Stevens – Traffic Midday
*Josie Smith – Traffic Mornings
*Ann Cates – Market watch
*Denny Long – weekend host
*Esme Murphy – weekend host
*Brad Walton – weekend night host
*Eric Nelson – weekend host/sports
*Steve Thompson – weekend host/sports
*Dave Mona – weekend host Sunday mornings
*Charlie Boone – weekend mornings
*Jearlyn Steele – Sunday evenings
*Ron Schara – WCCO outdoors
*John Rash – The Rash report
*Sue Zelickson – Food Reporter
*Sid Hartman – WCCO radio Sports
*Susan Hill- WCCO Great Garage Sale
*Roger Strom- 12:30p and 6:30p Farm and Business report
Current sports teams on WCCO
University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
* [http://www.wccoradio.com Official website]
* [http://www.radiotapes.com/ Radiotapes.com] Many historic airchecks of WCCO-AM and other Twin Cities radio stations including an aircheck of WLAG from 1924.
* [http://www.TwinCitiesRadioAirchecks.com TwinCitiesRadioAirchecks.com] A site for airchecks of many Twin Cities stations from the 60'sand 70's.
* [http://www.outfittersworld.com WCCO Live Outdoors with baseball great Jack Morris]
*(2001). [http://www.mplib.org/history/nm2.asp Radio and Television.] A History of Minneapolis. Minneapolis Public Library. Accessed
September 25, 2004.
*Jeff Baenen (
September 24, 2004). [http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/entertainment/9753249.htm Good Neighbor WCCO Radio celebrates 80 years.] Associated Press. Accessed September 25, 2004.
* [http://www.ci.coon-rapids.mn.us/council/Commissions/Historicalmural/historywccotower.htm History of WCCO Tower.] City of Coon Rapids. Accessed
September 25, 2004.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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