Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
KARE (or commonly KARE-11) is a broadcast television station serving the Twin Cities market of Minnesota and western Wisconsin in the United States, with studios located in the suburb of Golden Valley. It is currently owned by Gannett Corporation and affiliated with NBC. The station is noted for having a number of Emmy-winning photojournalists and has had a highly-rated newscast for well over a decade. The station broadcasts on VHF channel 11 and digitally on UHF channel 35 (through virtual channel numbering, it appears as channel 11-1).
KARE-11 was first known as WTCN (the “TCN” stood for “Twin Cities Newspapers”), though it was not the first TV station in the Twin Cities to carry that name. Channel 4 originally carried the WTCN name, but it was changed to WCCO following the station's merger with WCCO Radio in 1952.
In 1953, the station started broadcasting on channel 11 with a time sharing agreement with station WMIN. Each station would use the transmitter for two hours, then allow the other channel to take over for the next two. The two stations eventually merged. The original transmitter for WTCN and WMIN was located atop the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis, the tallest building in the city at the time. A growing city center meant that the transmitter would eventually have to go, and it was moved to Shoreview, Minnesota in 1972. Additionally, the new transmitter greatly increased the station's reception area.
WTCN was first operated by Minnesota Television Service Corporation , but the station changed ownership several times over the following years. It was sold to the H.M. Bitner Group in 1955, Time Life Broadcasting in 1957, Chris-Craft Industries in 1964, Metromedia in 1971, and finally Gannett Corporation in 1983.
A locally-produced children's program, Lunch with Casey , is remembered as being one of the unique contributions of the station. The show, featuring Roger Awsumb as Casey Jones, ran from 1954 until the end of 1972, with a brief reappearance in 1974. Sidekicks on the show included Joe the Cook, played by Chris Wedes, and Roundhouse Rodney, played by Lynn Dwyer . Wedes went on to play the clown J.P. Patches in Seattle, Washington, credited as partial inspiration (along with Portland, Oregon's Rusty Nails ) for Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons.
KARE has dominated the local TV news market since the mid-1980s. The station experimented with a 40-minute newscast at 10 PM, before 35-minute nightly newscasts—now the standard—became common (being in the Central Time Zone, Minnesota stations generally broadcast news a 5, 6, and 10 PM). The nighttime newscast often features a "KARE 11 News Extra," an extended news story. A special sports show is put together periodically, and the station also broadcasts a group of morning shows each weekday.
Weatherman Paul Douglas worked for the channel for several years. He is known for doing "backyard" weather, reporting from outside the studio. Douglas left the channel in the 1990s to work at a station in Chicago, Illinois. He returned to the Twin Cities in 1998 to work at WCCO. Other people on the weather staff at KARE continued to report from outside every day. Douglas and others at WCCO also frequently cover the news from a rooftop setup there.
The station made weather history on July 18, 1986 when helicopter pilot Max Messmer was flying out to cover a news and noticed a funnel cloud forming over Anoka. A camera on board the helicopter was switched on, and the images were broadcast live. The funnel soon formed into a full-fledged tornado as it touched the ground, and KARE broadcasted images of the funnel for 30 minutes. In the years to come, this first aerial video of a tornado was heavily studied by meteorologists, and contributed significantly to what is known about tornado formation.
The shortlived game show Let's Bowl (filmed in the Twin Cities) had some episodes air on the channel in the late '90s before it was remade for Comedy Central. In January 2005, a local cable access program began airing. Called The Show to Be Named Later... , it is described as "The first (and only) sports talk, comedy, and variety show," somewhat of a cross between Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Fox Sports Network's The Best Damn Sports Show Period. A weekly show for teenagers called The Whatever Show (or simply Whatever) and an outdoors program known as Minnesota Bound have both aired on the channel for about a decade.
Other notable events
- 1957 – WTCN's first news team is formed.
- 1973 – The current studios are built in Golden Valley.
- 1979 – WTCN joins NBC as an affiliate
- 1983 – The purchase by Gannett causes a reshuffling of the station's staff. News anchors Paul Magers and Diana Pierce , among others, come to the station.
- 1985 – The station's call letters are changed to WUSA for about one year before becoming KARE.
- 1997 – The station receives the Edward R. Murrow Award for overall excellence. The award is also received in 2001 and 2004.
- 2003 – Paul Magers leaves to work for KCBS in Los Angeles, California.
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