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|Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Minnesota
|Branding||WCCO 4 (general)
WCCO 4 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Minnesota's Most-Watched Station|
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 4 (PSIP)
|Affiliations||CBS (O&O) (Secondary through 1953)|
(CBS Broadcasting Inc.)
|First air date||July 1, 1949|
|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)|
|Public license information:||Profile
WCCO-TV, virtual channel 4 (UHF digital channel 32), is a CBS owned-and-operated television station, licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States and serving the Twin Cities television market. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation. 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 (virtual and VHF digital channel 7) in Alexandria (with transmitter near Westport); and KCCW-TV (virtual and VHF digital channel 12) in Walker (with transmitter near Hackensack).
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 fledgling FM band with WTCN-FM, and shortly thereafter 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. It has always been a primary CBS affiliate since its sign on. However, it also had a secondary affiliation with ABC during its early years from 1949–1953 when another incarnation of WTCN-TV (now known as KARE-TV, of which it also had the ABC affiliation from its sign on in 1953 until 1961 when it became an independent station; it has been affiliated with NBC since 1979) signed on.
Twin Cities Newspapers sold off its broadcast holdings in 1952, with channel 4 going to the Murphy and McNally families, who had recently bought the Twin Cities' dominant radio station, WCCO (830 AM), from CBS. The stations merged under a new company, Midwest Radio and Television, with CBS as a minority partner. The call letters of channel 4 were changed to WCCO-TV to match its new radio sister on August 17th (the WTCN-TV call sign would later be picked up by what is now KARE). 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.
In 1959, WCCO became the first station in the midwest to have a videotape machine; it came at a cost of $50,000 and one part-time employee was hired to operate the machine. In 1961, with the establishment of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, the station, via CBS, which held the rights to broadcast NFL games, became the 'unofficial' home station of the team. This would be a partnership that would continue until the end of the 1993 season, when most games were moved to WFTC (most Vikings games are now on KMSP-TV); today, channel 4 airs Vikings games (at least two each season) when the team plays host to an AFC team at plays at U.S. Bank Stadium, or on Thursday Night Football, or, starting in 2014, with the institution of the new 'cross-flex' rules, games that are moved from KMSP-TV.
On July 23, 1962, WCCO-TV was involved in the world's first live international broadcast via the Telstar satellite; the station's mobile units provided the feed for all three networks, ABC, CBS and NBC for a program originating from the Black Hills showing Mount Rushmore to the world.
The station began telecasting color programs in 1966. In September 1983, WCCO relocated its operations from its longtime studios on South 9th Street to the present location at South 11th Street & Nicollet Mall. The network gained full ownership of WCCO-TV in 1992, when it acquired the broadcast holdings of Midwest Radio and Television.
During the 1980s, a cable-exclusive sister station was created to supplement WCCO, with its own slate of local and national entertainment programming. This was known as WCCO II, but by 1989, it had evolved into the Midwest Sports Channel, focusing on regional sporting events. It continued under CBS ownership until 2000, when it was announced that MSC and sister RSN Home Team Sports were to be sold—HTS went to Comcast, while MSC was sold to Fox Entertainment Group and became part of Fox Sports Net, becoming Fox Sports North (it had been an FSN affiliate since 1997).
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|4.1||1080i||16:9||WCCO-DT||Main WCCO-TV programming / CBS|
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. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display the station's virtual channel as its former VHF analog channel 4.
On October 21, 2014, CBS and Weigel Broadcasting announced the launch of a new digital subchannel service called Decades, scheduled to launch on all CBS-owned stations in 2015, including on WCCO-TV on channel 4.2, KCCO-TV on channel 7.2, and KCCW-TV on channel 12.2. The channel will be co-owned by CBS and Weigel (owner of CBS affiliate WDJT-TV in Milwaukee), with Weigel being responsible for distribution to non-CBS-owned stations. It will air programs from the extensive library of CBS Television Distribution, including archival footage from CBS News.
Satellite stations and translators
WCCO-TV operates two satellite stations northwest of the Twin Cities area:
|Station||City of license||Channels
(TV / DT)
|First air date||Former call letters||ERP||HAAT||Transmitter Coordinates||Facility ID||Public license
|October 8, 1958||KCMT
|29 kW||339.6 m (1,114 ft)||9632||Profile
|January 1, 1964||KNMT
|59 kW||286.4 m (940 ft)||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. 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.
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:
|City of license||Callsign||Channel|
|Red Lake||K49LO-D ||49|
WCCO presently broadcasts 41½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 7 hours on weekdays, 3½ hours on Saturdays and 3 hours on Sundays). WCCO's newscasts begin with the slogan "Now...from Minnesota's Most Watched Station...this is WCCO 4 News." WCCO leads the Twin Cities market in nearly all time slots, from their morning show to the 10 p.m. news. WCCO leads by large margins in overall households, though compared to the 25-54 demo, the numbers are much more competitive with NBC affiliate KARE.
WCCO is one of two owned-and-operated affiliates in the Twin Cities market, the other being Fox-owned KMSP.
Notable former on-air staff
- Clellan Card - children's show personality "Axel" (1954–1966; deceased)
- Bill Carlson - entertainment reporter, midday news anchor (deceased)
- Paul Douglas - chief meteorologist (1997–2008; later with StarTribune)
- Randi Kaye - news reporter, news anchor (later with CNN)
- Bud Kraehling - weather anchor/staff announcer (1949–1996; deceased)
- Dave Moore - news anchor (1950s–1998; deceased)
- Barry Petersen - news reporter (later with CBS News)
- Hal Scott - sports anchor (1960s–1980; deceased)
- Don Shelby - news reporter/news anchor (1978-2010)
- Susan Spencer - news reporter, news anchor (later with CBS News)
- Bill Stewart - news reporter (later with ABC News, murdered in Nicaragua in 1979 while on assignment)
- Michele Tafoya - sports anchor/sports reporter (later with CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ABC Sports and ESPN)
- Heather Tesch - meteorologist (later with The Weather Channel)
- Ben Tracy - news reporter (later with CBS News)
- http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/largerimage.php?irn=10206529&catirn=10853547 WTCN-TV 4 billboard, 1950, showing ABC, CBS and DuMont affiliations
- http://llnw.static.cbslocal.com/station/wcco/community/09_0827_community_WCCOtimeline.pdf Retrieved 2011-7-22
- http://www.thefreelibrary.com/CBS+ACQUIRES+TELEVISION+AND+RADIO+STATIONS+FROM+MIDWEST+COMMUNICATIONS-a011880751 Retrieved 2011-8-21
- RabbitEars TV Query for WCCO
- "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and the Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24.
- CBS Stations, Weigel Partner on Oldies Digi-Net Decades Broadcasting & Cable (10/21/2014)
- "WATR-TV decides to go it alone." Broadcasting, February 22, 1982, pg. 72.
- Minnesota State Edition
- 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.
- "Name Your Favorite Otter Athlete". 2011-05-16. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- "A History of Minneapolis: Radio and Television". Minneapolis Public Library. 2001. Archived from the original on 2004-08-08. Retrieved 2004-09-25.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's TV station database for WCCO
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KCCO
- Query the FCC's TV station database for KCCW
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WCCO-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KCCO-TV
- BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on KCCW-TV