By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Harry Truman was President and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was signed. The year was 1949, the same date WCCO-TV went on the air. Monday marks 70 years of broadcasting here.

Liz Collin sat down with some familiar faces who shared their favorite memories and the secrets to staying relevant in a now-crowded media field.

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“It’s incredible when you think about the history of what’s gone on not only in this building, but the original building on 9th and LaSalle,” Mark Rosen said.

Perhaps no one knows that history better than the guy who spent a half-century working here.

“Something went off in my head that said I don’t know why, but maybe I’d like to do that someday,” Rosen said.

Rosen walked into the Radio City Theater, our original home, as a high school kid ready to start his career. In 1983, Rosie was there to make the move to Nicollet Mall.

“It resonates with people that somewhere in their family somebody grew up watching WCCO Television,” Rosen said.

“Well, the first thing that strikes me is that when I got there it was only 29 years old. And now it’s 70. That’s a little daunting to think about that,” Don Shelby said.

While the years have passed, Shelby’s passion for the station that gave him 32 storied years as an anchor and investigative reporter has not.

“When I think about WCCO-TV, it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Just absolutely the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” Shelby said.

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“Whatever I was as an anchorperson, I stole wholesale from Dave Moore,” Shelby added.

It was Moore who captained the ship for 47 years. He launched the 10 p.m. after Walter Cronkite turned down the job. Shelby considers Moore a trailblazer who set the tone on the air and in the newsroom.

“WCCO stands for something beyond journalism and community involvement. It does kind of stand for family,” Shelby said.

“Obviously, we’re married to each other so we are a family. But, even before that, just co-workers, my co-anchors – we genuinely like each other. That is something you cannot fake,” Amelia Santaniello said.

“I’m not sure that a married couple works in every television market across the country, but it’s kind of a reflection on our community. We’re a close-knit group, we’re a close-knit station,” Frank Vascellaro added.

WCCO is a station known around the country, for decades launching reporters to the network. Still, there is loyalty in a profession where turnover can be common.

“The dedication, the pride, all that, it’s not a cliché, it’s true. I think that’s why people stayed because they really enjoyed coming to work here,” Rosen said.

As we look ahead to a new generation growing up with constant information, our commitment to news and making a connection remains.

“I think it’s needed more today than ever before because of the impersonal nature of the world that we live in,” Rosen said.

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“‘CCO will live forever – in the state of Minnesota, in the hearts of people and certainly in mine,” Shelby said.

Liz Collin