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WCCO CBS 4 logo.png
MinneapolisSaint Paul, Minnesota
United States
City of license Minneapolis, Minnesota
Branding WCCO Channel 4,
WCCO, CCO (general)
WCCO 4 News (newscasts)
Slogan Minnesota's most-watched station
Channels Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
Subchannels 4.1 CBS
Translators (see article)
Affiliations CBS (O&O)
Owner CBS Corporation
(CBS Television Licenses, LLC)
First air date July 1, 1949; 65 years ago (1949-07-01)
Call letters' meaning derived from sister station WCCO radio (Washburn Crosby COmpany)
Sister station(s) KMNB, KZJK, WCCO
Former callsigns WTCN-TV (1949–1952)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
4 (VHF, 1949–2009)
Transmitter power 1000 kW
Height 432 m (1,417 ft)
Facility ID 9629
Transmitter coordinates 45°3′44″N 93°8′21″W / 45.06222°N 93.13917°W / 45.06222; -93.13917
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website minnesota.cbslocal.com

WCCO-TV, channel 4, is a CBS owned-and-operated television station, licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA and serving the Twin Cities television market. WCCO-TV's studios are located on South 11th Street in downtown Minneapolis, and its transmitter is located at the Telefarm complex in Shoreview, Minnesota.

WCCO-TV's programming is also seen on two full-power satellite stations: KCCO-TV (channel 7) in Alexandria, Minnesota; and KCCW-TV (channel 12) in Walker, Minnesota.


The WCCO building in downtown Minneapolis.

WCCO-TV's roots originate with a radio station, but not the one with which it is affiliated today. Radio station WRHM, which signed on the air in 1925, is the station to which WCCO-TV traces its lineage. 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. Twin Cities Newspapers later expanded into the then-new medium of television with the launch of WTCN-TV on July 1, 1949 as Minnesota's second television station, broadcasting from the Radio City Theater at 50 South 9th Street in downtown Minneapolis.

When Twin Cities Newspapers sold its radio holdings – WTCN (now WWTC) and WTCN-FM (now KTCZ-FM) – in 1952, it was able to buy the much stronger and dominant WCCO (830 AM). A new company, Midwest Radio and Television, was created to do this, with CBS as a minority partner. The call letters of channel 4 were changed to WCCO-TV to match its new radio sister (the WTCN-TV call sign would later be picked up by what is now KARE).[1] CBS was forced to sell its minority ownership stake in the WCCO stations in 1954 to comply with Federal Communications Commission ownership limits of the time. The network gained full ownership of WCCO-TV in 1992, when it acquired the broadcast holdings of Midwest Radio and Television.[2]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channel[edit]

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[3]
4.1 1080i 16:9 WCCO-DT Main WCCO-TV programming / CBS

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WCCO-TV shut down its analog signal, over VHF channel 4, on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32.[4] Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.

Satellite stations and translators[edit]

WCCO-TV operates two satellite stations northwest of the Twin Cities area:

Former KCCO/KCCW logo
Station City of license Channels
(TV / DT)
First air date Former call letters ERP HAAT Transmitter Coordinates Facility ID Public license
KCCO-TV Alexandria 7 (PSIP)
7 (VHF)
October 8, 1958 KCMT (1958–1987) 29 kW 339.6 m 45°41′10″N 95°8′3″W / 45.68611°N 95.13417°W / 45.68611; -95.13417 (KCCO-TV) 9632 Profile
KCCW-TV Walker 12 (PSIP)
12 (VHF)
January 1, 1964 KNMT (1964–1987) 59 kW 286.4 m 46°56′5″N 94°27′19″W / 46.93472°N 94.45528°W / 46.93472; -94.45528 (KCCW-TV) 9640 Profile

Both of these stations were founded by the Central Minnesota Television Company and maintained primary affiliations with NBC and secondary affiliations with ABC from their respective sign-ons until the summer of 1982, when both stations switched to CBS.[5][6] KCMT had originally broadcast from a studio in Alexandria, with KNMT operating as a satellite station of KCMT. Central Minnesota Television sold both stations to Midwest Radio and Television in 1987, at which point they adopted their present call letters and became semi-satellites of WCCO-TV.[7]

Until 2002, the two stations simulcast WCCO-TV's programming for most of the day, except for separate commercials and inserts placed into channel 4's newscasts. However, in 2002, WCCO-TV ended KCCO/KCCW's local operations and shut down the Alexandria studio, converting the two stations into full-time satellites. Since then, channel 4 has identified as "Minneapolis-St. Paul/Alexandria/Walker", with virtually no on-air evidence that KCCO and KCCW were separate stations.

In addition, the broadcast signal of WCCO-TV is extended by way of six translators in southern Minnesota and one in northern Minnesota; all but one broadcasts in digital:

City of license Callsign Channel
Frost K35IU-D 35
Jackson K35IZ-D 35
Olivia K51AL-D 51
Red Lake K49LO-D 49
Redwood Falls K33LB-D 33
St. James K41IZ-D 41
Willmar K46AC-D 46

News operation[edit]

WCCO presently broadcasts 28 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 4½ hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and two hours on Sundays). In addition, the station produces a half-hour sports highlight program on Sunday evenings after the 10 p.m. newscast called Rosen's Sports Sunday, which is hosted by sports director Mark Rosen.

Since the May 2006 ratings period,[needs update] WCCO's newscasts have claimed the top spot[clarification needed] in total household ratings for most news programs.[8] The exception has been mornings, where KARE still leads all local competitors. In main demographic groups, WCCO usually comes in second place. May 2009 showed a third place finish behind KSTP at 5:00 p.m.[9]

Notable former on-air staff[edit]

  • Al Austin - reporter (later with CBS News)[10]
  • Jerry Bowen - reporter (later with CBS News)[11]
  • Clellan Card - children's show personality "Axel" (1954–1966; deceased)
  • Bill Carlson - entertainment reporter, midday news anchor (deceased)[12]
  • Mary Davies - children's show personality "Carmen The Nurse" (1954–1977; deceased)[13]
  • Paul Douglas - chief meteorologist (1997–2008; later with StarTribune)
  • John Gallos - children's show personality "Clancy The Cop" and other characters, host of weekly Laurel & Hardy films program, host of public service programs and staff announcer[14]
  • Phil Jones - reporter (later with CBS News)[15]
  • Randi Kaye - reporter, news anchor (later with CNN)[16]
  • Don Kladstrup - reporter (later with CBS News then ABC News)[13]
  • Bud Kraehling - weather anchor/staff announcer (1949–1996)[10]
  • Skip Loescher - news anchor, reporter (later press secretary for U.S. Sen. Walter Mondale and anchor/reporter at CNN; deceased)[13]
  • Allan Lotsberg - children's show personality "Willie Ketchum"[10]
  • Pat Miles - news anchor (1978–1988)[10]
  • Dave Moore - news anchor (1950s–1998; deceased)
  • Barry Petersen - reporter (later with CBS News)
  • Ann Rubenstein - reporter, news anchor (later with NBC News)[17]
  • Hal Scott - sports anchor (1960s–1980; deceased)[13]
  • Don Shelby - news anchor [18]
  • Susan Spencer - reporter, news anchor (later with CBS News)
  • Bill Stewart - reporter (later with ABC News, murdered in Nicaragua while on assignment in 1979)
  • Michele Tafoya - sports anchor/reporter (later with NBC Sports)
  • Heather Tesch - meteorologist (later with The Weather Channel)[19]
  • Ben Tracy - reporter (later with CBS News)[20]


  1. ^ http://llnw.static.cbslocal.com/station/wcco/community/09_0827_community_WCCOtimeline.pdf Retrieved 2011-7-22
  2. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/CBS+ACQUIRES+TELEVISION+AND+RADIO+STATIONS+FROM+MIDWEST+COMMUNICATIONS-a011880751 Retrieved 2011-8-21
  3. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for WCCO
  4. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  5. ^ "WATR-TV decides to go it alone." Broadcasting, February 22, 1982, pg. 72. [1]
  6. ^ Minnesota State Edition
  7. ^ Washington, D.C. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Vol. 02, No. 22, pp. 6730-6732, Oct 23-Nov. 6, 1987. UNT Digital Library. FCC 87-331 Vol. 22. Accessed June 28, 2012.
  8. ^ http://www.startribune.com/459/story/455954.html[dead link]
  9. ^ http://newsblaze.com/story/2009052113384100004.mwir/topstory.html
  10. ^ a b c d "Twin Cities Television Milestones". "Pavek Museum of Broadcasting". Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen Retires". TV Newser. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "WCCO Anchor Bill Carlson Dies At Age 73". 2008-02-29. Archived from the original on 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Obituary: Mary Davies Orfield, TV’s Carmen the Nurse". 2014-10-02. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "John P. Gallos obituary". 2005-11-19. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Phil Jones 2002". Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. 2002. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Minneapolis Anchor Randi Kaye headed for CNN". 2004-08-11. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "WCCO-TV 5pm Report, February 16, 1984". TC Media Now. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  18. ^ Oslund, John J. (1997). "Ruling a Prizewinner Unfair". Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  19. ^ "Name Your Favorite Otter Athlete". 2011-05-16. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "Ben Tracy biography". CBS News. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 

External links[edit]