KSTP is the call sign used for a set of television and radio stations with studios in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They are the flagship stations of Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation, which also owns several other TV stations across the United States and some other properties. KSTP-AM 1500 is the original station, and is one of the two clear channel broadcasters in the Twin Cities (the other is WCCO). KSTP-FM 94.5, also known as KS95, has been on the air since 1979 or earlier, and broadcasts a "Hot AC" or adult contemporary music format today. KSTP-TV channel 5 (50 digital) is an ABC affiliate, and is the oldest TV station still operating in Minnesota today.
KSAX 42 (36 digital) in Alexandria and KRWF 43 (digital 27) in Redwood Falls mostly carry KSTP programming, although they reportedly have some local news as well. KSTP, KSAX, and KRWF have the most extensive network of television broadcast translators in the state, reaching much of central Minnesota.
KSTP's AM signal at 1500 kHz is the product of a 1928 merger between two other Twin Cities stations. WAMD ("Where All Minneapolis Dances") and KFOY had each started broadcasting a few years earlier. Stanley E. Hubbard's WAMD went on the air for the first time on February 13, 1925 (some sources say 1923), originally broadcasting live dance music from a local ballroom. It is claimed that this was the first radio station to be completely supported by running paid advertisements. KFOY radio first took to the air on March 12, 1924 in St. Paul.
Twin Cities stations were experimenting with frequency-modulated transmissions in the late 1930s. KSTP engineers had started running W9XUP at 29.95 MHz by 1938. This "ultra-short-wave" station continued regular broadcasts until at least 1944. Other Twin Cities stations also experimented with FM, but not as extensively. WCCO operated a low-power station, but it apparently went off the air quickly. WTCN's FM transmission stayed around longer, but remained intermittent.
In the early 1970s, KSTP became the fourth area station to switch over to a pop music format, competing with the AM signals of WDGY (now KFAN), KDWB, and WYOO (now defunct, divided among KDWB and a predecessor to today's "93X", KXXR). By the end of the decade, most music stations had begun broadcasting on the modern FM band. Today, 1500 AM is a talk radio station.
Notable hosts who have been on KSTP AM include Joe Soucheray, James Lileks, Leigh Kamman, and Tom Mischke.
The first telecast by KSTP reportedly occurred on December 7, 1947, when Jack Horner hosted a 25-minute program. Channel 5 began regular broadcasts a few months later on April 27, 1948, making it the first modern TV station in the region. However, an experimental mechanical TV station had set up by WDGY station engineers more than a decade earlier. That station's license expired in 1938 as the Federal Communications Commission was not interested in continuing mechanical TV broadcasts. That same year, Hubbard bought the first television camera available from RCA. However, the television blackout brought on by World War II prevented any transmissions from being made.
KSTP, then an NBC
affiliate, was airing over six hours of color programming daily by 1962
KSTP has a number of claims for broadcasting "firsts." These include:
A digital TV signal from KSTP started airing in 1999, and it became part of the first TV "duopoly" in the state with the purchase of KSTC the year after that (though there was a longstanding public television pair: KTCA/KTCI).
The station is one of many across the country to use the Eyewitness News moniker for newscasts. A notable local program produced each week is At Issue, a political discussion show hosted by Tom Hauser where former state governor Wendell Anderson has been a regular guest. Special sports shows, usually hosted by Joe Schmidt, are also made on a regular basis, and On the Road with Jason Davis, a program that follows Minnesotans and Wisconsinites around the globe, has recently become a full half-hour program (it was originally a segment produced for newscasts).
From 1982 until 1994 when nationally-syndicated talk shows started ruling the daytime airwaves, KSTP ran a talk program of its own known as Good Company. Sharon Anderson and Steve Edelman hosted the show. They married for a while, though eventually divorced. The two continue to be recognized as area celebrities from time to time. They appeared briefly in the movie Fargo as show hosts.
In late 2004, the station became part of the controversies surrounding missing explosives following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Reporter Dean Staley and cameraman Joe Caffrey visited the Al Qa'qaa munitions dump on April 18, 2003. By the next year, Staley had moved on to another station, but the tapes still existed and Caffrey was still at KSTP. When reports surfaced that explosive material might have been stolen from the site, the two realized that they had filmed at the facility during an important time.
Despite its extensive news background, the station often finds itself at the bottom of the ratings pile at the present time. News anchors and reporters have been changed quite frequently during the past decade, probably more often than any other area station. Even a shakeup and quirky advertisements featuring Ed Asner (emulating Lou Grant) did not help out. However, at least a few people have managed to stay at the station. Meteorologist Dave Dahl has been doing on-air reports since 1979. Cyndy Brucato is the most recent lead anchor, and is still doing the news as of January 2005.
KSTP's studios are located at the western edge of Saint Paul, just a few steps away from neighboring Minneapolis. There is a large transmitter tower behind the station, though it is not directly used for broadcasts today. Instead, the TV and FM stations broadcast from a paired tower setup in Shoreview (shared with WCCO, KARE, and KMWB), and the AM transmitter is near Little Canada, Minnesota.
- KSTP Channel 5 (http://www.kstp.com/)
- 1500 KSTP (http://www.am1500.com/)
- KS95 (http://www.ks95.com/)
- KSTP-TV in 1962 (http://www.ev1.pair.com/colorTV/kstp.html), from Broadcast News magazine.