WCCO (AM): Wikis


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WCCO logo
City of license Minneapolis, Minnesota
Broadcast area Minneapolis-St. Paul
Branding Newsradio 830 WCCO
Slogan "The Good Neighbor"
"Today's 8-3-0 WCCO"
Frequency 830 kHz AM
(also on HD Radio)
simulcasted on WLTE-HD2 102.9-2 (HD Radio)
First air date 1922
Format Commercial; News/Talk
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Callsign meaning Washburn Crosby COmpany (previous owner)
Former callsigns WLAG (1922-24)
Affiliations CBS
Owner CBS Radio
Sister stations KZJK, WLTE
part of CBS Corp. cluster with TV station WCCO-TV
Webcast Listen Live!
Website www.wccoradio.com

WCCO is a radio station with a storied history spanning more than 80 years that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota. The station is owned by CBS Radio and 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. WCCO has been heard as far west as Salt Lake City, Utah.[1]

From 1947 to 1996, WCCO radio and WCCO-TV won 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, 1922 as 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, 1924 from 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, 1928 with 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 Hawaii and the Caribbean Sea when atmospheric conditions were right. Later in 1932, CBS bought WCCO from General Mills, and it remains affiliated with the CBS Radio Network to 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 Iowa and 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. states and three Canadian provinces. Certain conditions can make the signal stretch much farther— legendary station personality Howard Viken says that he once picked up the station while he was stationed at Guadalcanal in 1943. In 2005, WCCO began broadcasting in the HD Radio Hybrid 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 characters, including Backlash LaRue and Ma Linger arrived at WCCO from KSTP in 1971, he was still thought of by 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 stories like 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 toward traditional MOR and easy-listening fare 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.

Longtime WCCO Radio logo

WCCO engineers were experimenting with frequency modulation by 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 its antenna to 1250 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 WLTE 102.9 FM.

WCCO was the top-rated station in the Twin Cities for decades until shifting demographics and interests finally brought KQRS-FM to the top spot. One sign of the changing times: the well-known farm report was dropped in early 2004, reflecting the fact that many farmers now rely more on the Internet for 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 Ventura had a show while in office, and successor Tim Pawlenty has followed suit.

More recent WCCO personalities have included longtime Star Tribune columnist 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 Carneal the 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 Minnesota Golden 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 Radio over compensation for its Major League Baseball broadcasts,[citation needed] CBS did not renew many of 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.

In late 2008 WCCO had to do some cut backs and so they laid off some staff members including some on air such as Dan Terharr, Brad Walton, Al Malmberg.

Dave Lee Morning show

  • Dave Lee, Host
  • Telly Mamayek, News
  • Eric Eskola, News
  • Mike Lynch, Weather
  • Tim Russell, Entertainment Reporter/ Also fills often when Dave is off.
  • Sid Hartman, Sports talk
  • Josie Smith, Traffic Reporter
  • Jerry Peterson, Traffic Reporter
  • John Hines Regular fill in when Dave Lee is off or on road with gophers

Key Features of the show: 20 minutes of non stop news at 7:00am and also 8:00am, Traffic and weather together on the 8s, Birthdays, Market Watch with Ann Cates, John Rash with the Rash report

Mondale and Jones

  • Susie Jones, Host
  • Eleanor Mondale, Host (on medical leave)
  • John Hines Host (Fill in for Elenaor)
  • Steve Murphy, News
  • Bruce Hagevik, News
  • Telly Mamayek, News
  • Mike Lynch, Weather
  • Mark Napolean, Traffic

Noon News

Noon News hour with

  • Adam Carter
  • Telly Mamayek
  • Steve Murphy


Since Don retired. WCCO radio has been doing rotating hosts until they decide on a full time replacement. Rotating hosts including

  • Chad Hartman
  • Esme Murphy
  • Denny Long
  • Frank Vascellaro
  • Chris Shaffer

Michele Tafoya Show

  • Michele Tafoya, Host
  • Jeff McKinny, News
  • Chris Shaffer, WCCO weather updates
  • Jerry Peterson or Josie Smith, Traffic reports


  • Broadcasts WCCO 4 News over the radio 6pm to 6:30, Then from 6:30 to 7:00pm its back to WCCO radio with:
  • Jeff McKinney News
  • Adam Carter News
  • Chris Shaffer, weather (from the WCCO TV weather center)
  • Mike Max, Sports news

Sports tonight with Mike Max

  • Mike Max, Host
  • Jeff McKinny or Adam Carter, News
  • Ron Schara,(Monday night outdoors)

Sports with Dark Star

  • Dark Star, Host
  • Steve Thompson, often fills in when Dark is off.

Weekend Hosts and News Staff

  • Charlie Boone Sat and Sun Mornings
  • Denny Long Sat and Sun Mornings
  • Bruce Hogevik News reporter Weekends
  • Steve Thompson Afternoons
  • Eric Nelson Afternoons
  • Esme Murphy Saturday nights
  • Dave Mona Sunday sports Huddle
  • Sid Hartman Sunday sports Huddle
  • Jearlyn Steele – Sunday evenings
  • Jordan Rich- Weekend overnights

On air staff

  • Dave Lee - mornings
  • Mondale and Jones – mid-days
  • Good Morning Minnesota
  • Michele Tafoya Show - afternoons
  • WCCO News Hour
  • Mike Max – evenings
  • Dark Star – nights
  • Jon Grayson - overnights
  • Mike Lynch – weather
  • Tim Russell – Entertainment reporter
  • Steve Murphy – News Editor/Reporter
  • Telly Mamayek – Morning news anchor/reporter
  • Jeff McKinney – Afternoon News Editor
  • Eric Eskola – State Capital Reporter
  • Bruce Hagevik – Weekend News Reporter/ Also works a few days during the week
  • Adam Carter – News Reporter weekdays and weekends
  • Jerry Peterson – Traffic Mornings/Afternoons
  • Josie Smith – Traffic Mornings/Afternoons
  • Ann Cates – Market watch
  • Denny Long – weekend mornings host , Also rotates on WCCO Midday Live.
  • Esme Murphy – weekend host, Saturday evenings
  • Eric Nelson – weekend host/sports
  • Steve Thomson – 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 during the Dave Lee Morning news
  • Sue Zelickson – Food Reporter
  • Sid Hartman – WCCO radio Sports,
  • Roger Strom - Farm and Business report
  • Susie Jones- Weekday host, Often fills in as news reporter when Bruce takes a weekend off

Past on-air personalities

  • Cedric Adams - deceased
  • Steve Cannon - Retired 10/3/1997 (deceased)
  • Clellan Card - deceased
  • Roger Erickson - Retired 1/10/1998
  • Halsey Hall - deceased
  • Franklin Hobbs-deceased, host of the overnight show "Hobbs House" from 1959 to 1981
  • Ruth Koscielak
  • Joe McFarlin-deceased
  • Al Malmberg - Laid off; is now doing temp fill in at KSTP AM
  • Jergen Nash-deceased
  • Jack Rice - Left on 1/30/2009 to move on and do other things
  • Dan Terhaar – Sports; laid off
  • Howard Viken
  • Brad Walton - Laid off from WCCO
  • Patty Peterson - Jazz Singer
  • Don Shelby retired from radio 2009 will retire from wcco tv in Dec. 2010
  • Glen Olson

Current sports teams on WCCO


External links

Coordinates: 45°10′40″N 93°20′55″W / 45.17778°N 93.34861°W / 45.17778; -93.34861

Preceded by
Radio Home of the
Minnesota Twins
Succeeded by
AM 1500 KSTP


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