WCCO TV Announces Don Shelby’s Retirement; Frank Vascellaro Named As Successor
“Don has been talking about his retirement with us for several months now,” said Loyd. “Yet assigning a date to it suddenly makes it real. While this is something Don has earned, making this official announcement is bitter-sweet for all of us. As we look to the future, WCCO TV is most fortunate to have the bench strength with another seasoned veteran anchor, Frank Vascellaro. With Don’s retirement, Frank and Amelia will become our anchor team at 5, 6 and now 10 p.m., thus beginning a new, dynamic chapter in Twin Cities television.”
“I consider myself the luckiest man alive,” said Shelby. “Fate brought me to a community that accepted me, my family, my professional faults and failures and celebrated any successes I’ve enjoyed. I have chosen to stay in Minnesota over all these years because I owe her and her people a debt I can never repay, no matter how hard I have tried.
“WCCO TV has become my home, its employees are my extended family and will be my closest friends for life,” continued Shelby. “When I arrived 32 years ago, WCCO TV was the beacon of local television journalism in the country. When Dave Moore passed the torch to me, he made me promise that I would keep that flame kindled. Now, it is someone else’s turn. It is Frank Vascellaro’s turn, as it was once mine. The standard of inquiry, ethics and journalism is something I will not take with me when I go. I leave that behind, because it doesn’t belong to me, but to the people who tune in every night to know more about their community and our world.”
“I’ve known Don for 14 years. We like to joke he was my first TV husband,” said Santaniello. “We are the longest-paired co-anchors in the market right now. It’s going to be strange to come to work and not have him sitting next to me. He’s a great colleague, but most of all a great friend. But I’m happy for him because he’s going to be able to spend much more time with his family—especially his two beautiful grandchildren.“
Shelby was hired at WCCO TV in 1978, to co-anchor the weekend news with Pat Miles. Not long after, he was named main anchor at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. While known mostly for his anchoring, it’s his contributions to investigative reporting through his I-Team reports that have made him legendary. He has won all five of the nation’s top journalism awards, including three national Emmys, the Columbia duPont award, the Scripps-Howard Award and the Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Service Award. In 1997, Shelby was honored with the Peabody Award, the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, for his ongoing work with the youth of Minnesota. In recent years, Shelby’s focus has been on the environment, and he has been the force behind the Project Energy franchise at WCCO TV.
“It’s hard to imagine WCCO without Don Shelby,” said Scott Libin, WCCO TV News Director. “And it’s hard to imagine a better successor to Don than Frank Vascellaro. Promoting from within to a position of this importance is the sign of a strong television news organization.”
In 2006, WCCO TV hired Frank Vascellaro after he spent nine years anchoring at KARE 11. His initial assignment was to join his wife, Amelia Santaniello, at 6 p.m., as the first married couple to co-anchor a daily news program in the Twin Cities. Within a few years, this dynamic couple began anchoring WCCO 4 News at 5 p.m. as well. Vascellaro has proven himself a strong reporter on everything from family issues to investigative work. Most recently, he has led coverage of high school sports around the state on WCCO’s new, weekly program, High School Sports Rally.
“I’m grateful for the way Don and my other co-workers accepted me right away as part of the WCCO family,” said Vascellaro. “When I came to this station, I not only became part of an incredibly rich past, which is WCCO TV and really Don Shelby and Dave Moore, but also a part of the future of local TV news in Minnesota. And I have the unique opportunity to work on air and alongside my wife, Amelia. While it will be exciting to work with her on another show, it’s difficult to think about Don not being a daily presence in the newsroom. He’s been a great friend and colleague.”
“I feel a new happiness coming,” said Shelby. “I will spend time with my wife, children and grandchildren and I will read and read and read. I feel sadness that I will not be with that other family of friends at WCCO TV and those who have become my friends by virtue of sharing some time with me each night in their homes. I will feel somewhat lost without a platform on which to stand – to talk to Minnesotans every day. But, most of all, I feel like I’m setting out on a solo canoe trip into uncharted waters. I’m a little frightened, very excited, and I can’t wait to see what appears around the next bend in the river.”
WCCO TV is part of the CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation.