All Set? You Bet!

Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm
By: Doug Lund
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There are a few special privileges granted to old Keloland TV relics like me; one of them was getting a sneak peak at the brand new broadcast studio especially designed for the transformation to all high definition Wednesday at five. I popped in just as they were rehearsing Midday in Keloland and was blown away by all the changes..not only in the news and weather sets but behind the scenes where the directors, producers, engineers and other technicians now operate.  Don Jorgenson was waiting in the wings for his turn to rehearse and we had a chance to chat. “Did you see the wall behind the anchor desk?” he said, “It one giant HD monitor. Plus we won’t have cameramen (or women) anymore; the new HD cameras are operated by remote control. Plus the anchors will be using ipads at the desk instead of the old paper scripts.”  “Sounds dangerously high tech,” I said.    Just then Nicole Winters, who I think is just terrific on camera, wrapped up her rehearsal. I never had a chance to work with Nicole but have gotten to know her a little bit from when I show up at the station to do my “Voice of Keloland” thing.  “Doug, do you want to take a spin at your old anchor chair?” she asked.

Just then, my mind raced back to 1975 when Keloland TV was about to unveil a brand new set, a brand new format ( The Big News) a brand new anchorman. (Me)  I remember being as nervous as a June bride in a feather bed but after a few newscasts, the four of us: Steve Hemmingsen, Jim Burt, Dave Dedrick and I all fell into a good rhythm that worked and lasted for a very long time.

This was my very first Keloland TV new set in 1975. It was a real departure from the podiums and single desks other anchors had used. I remember our promotion guy had the brilliant idea that Jim Burt, Steve Hemmingsen, Dave Dedrick and I march on to the set while the opening music played. It looked like we were heading to a police line-up. That walking entry only lasted a few months but the set itself was in place for several years.

This was my very first Keloland TV new set in 1975. It was a real departure from the podiums and single desks other anchors had used. I remember our promotion guy had the brilliant idea that Jim Burt, Steve Hemmingsen, Dave Dedrick and I march on to the set while the opening music played. It looked like we were heading to a police line-up. That walking entry only lasted a few months but the set itself was in place for several years.

I was trying to recall the number of different sets we went through during my tenure. There actually weren’t that many..maybe five or six over thirty seven years.

This was our next set built at the other end of the studio. Originally it had a huge kite-shaped piece of plexiglass with the words "The Big News" attached in styrofoam letters. It was suspended from the ceiling by a few chains and we all lived in fear that it would come crashing down on our heads on any given night. It was a nightmare for engineers to light and, after a year or so, we had the technology to achieve the same effect graphically. Nobody was sad to see that big overhang go. I know I have a picture of it somewhere but can't find.

The above set was somewhere in the late 70′s  Pretty ho-hum really but we used it for a long time. I think it ended up at OWL TV

And then there was the kite set. It originally it had a huge kite-shaped piece of plexiglass with the words "The Big News" attached in styrofoam letters. It was suspended from the ceiling by a few chains and we all lived in fear that it would come crashing down on our heads on any given night. It was a nightmare for engineers to light and, after a year or so, we had the technology to achieve the same effect graphically. Nobody was sad to see that big overhang go.

And then there was the kite set. It originally it had a huge kite-shaped piece of plexiglass with the words "The Big News" attached in styrofoam letters. It was suspended from the ceiling by a few chains and we all lived in fear that it would come crashing down on our heads on any given night. It was a nightmare for engineers to light and, after a year or so, we had the technology to achieve the same effect graphically. Nobody was sad to see that big overhang go.

After a consultant said the anchors were too far apart, we had this little half circle set built. It put us all closer together alright but Steve said it looked like we were all sitting around a poker table and I agree.

After a consultant said the anchors were too far apart, we had this little half circle set built. It put us all closer together alright but Steve said it looked like we were all sitting around a poker table and I agree.

This shot of the four of us is in front of the periscope set. Steve and I had a button which raised and lowered a TV monitor so we could talk to reporters and do satellite interviews live. We had a couple variations on this where a blue or green screen could be raised up and the director would superimpose the image on but that didn't last too long. Rather than building new sets every couple years, we'd just remodel the old ones. In fact, the set we've been using up until now, was first built in the mid 90's and simply upgraded and remodeled.

This shot of the four of us is in front of the periscope set. Steve and I had a button which raised and lowered a TV monitor so we could talk to reporters and do satellite interviews live. We had a couple variations on this where a blue or green screen could be raised up and the director would superimpose the image on but that didn't last too long. Rather than building new sets every couple years, we'd just remodel the old ones. In fact, the set we've been using up until now, was first built in the mid 90's and simply upgraded and remodeled.

  “Thanks, Nicole,” I said. “But I think I’ll pass on the chance to sit at the new set.”  

I had my turn at the old ones and, while I loved every minute of it, times and technologies change. This exciting new chapter in the history of Keloland is for others to write.  

What is comforting to me and I hope to all our viewers, is that amidst all the shiny new equipment and high definition imagery, the basic mission of Keloland Television remains as it always has; to be the station people trust for their news and weather. I know that sounds simple and maybe a bit schmaltzy but I also know Angela, Don, Jay and everyone connected with the news department take that responsibility and tradition very seriously.

I’m just glad that as station announcer I can still be a part of it all and very grateful that I will continue to be “heard” and not seen on television. There’s not enough air brush make-up in the world to make this aging face look good in HD.

16 Comments

  1. J.P. Skelly says:

    Interesting Doug! Thanks for sharing the pics and your thoughts on the new set and going to HD. I’m so grateful to be in radio! :)

  2. Cam Lind says:

    Great job once again. CL

  3. Hemmingsen says:

    At the time, the “kite” was known as the Star W ars set. The kite literally fell apart from old age when they finally tried to dismantle it. For a long time, I had a slab of the white plexiglass standing around my shop for some future…dare I say “futuristic” project…that never happened.

  4. Trista L. DeLange says:

    Its kinda cool to look back and see these changes to the Keloland family. I can remember as a kid( I am only 37yrs old now!)but every 6 PM Keloland news was on, and the faces were always like a security. We knew that everyone was to be quiet during that time, now as my husband and I are raising our two kids its funny how we have the same rules here! Quiet …. I gotta hear the news!
    I hope the new High Def continues to keep us connected and informed as the past has done.
    Thanks to “MY Keloland Family”, we appreciate all you do!
    Tom, Trista Sammie & Zach DeLange- Corsica

  5. V Vet says:

    I suppose with the round table you had to wear long pants all the time.

  6. Reid Holsen says:

    Thanks so much, Doug for sharing these pictures and memories! I can never get enough of KELO-Land memories! I grew up watching KELO, and it was a big reason I wanted to go into broadcasting. Just like Trista, it was “security” getting the news from pros like you, Steve, Dave and Jim. I also remember Bart Kull and Leo Hartig as well. Many a Friday night growing up in Luverne, I’d race home from the football or basketball game to watch Jim Burt read the sports, and literally “roll” all the scores on screen. I witnessed lots of history, including the tragic assassinations of the summer of 1968, the first man on the moon in 1969, and many an election on KELO TV growing up. I spent my birthday in that studio with Captain 11 in 1967 (didn’t win the giant Tootsie Roll), and had the honor of being on Monday Menu a couple of times with you! It was a professional honor for me to be able work with Midcontinent family and KELO during the 1990′s as well. Today, its a very special feeling for Jeanne and I to watch our son Matthew sit in that same studio and deliver the sports, just like Jim did when I grew up. With you, Steve and many others, he is in excellent, accomplished company!

  7. Eric McPeek says:

    I remember that in the early to mid 1990′s there was what I thought 4 different news sets but in realty there were really 2 sets and each set had 2 backgrounds. For the smaller set, it was plain yellow for the Morning and Noon Newscasts and red curtain-like blinds for the 5:00 news casts and for the big set, plain brown covers for the 6:00 newscast and brown siding for the 10:00 news.

  8. Scottish Goldfish says:

    I’m not impressed with the new background. The picture of the state capital looks like an air-brushed t-shirt picture, with the colors too bright. Without sharp lines, it looks like a 110 negative (remember those?) blown up to poster size. I’d prefer a return to the blue curtain of last week. The simplicity of the old sets without their busy backgrounds was more pleasing, with fewer distractions. At least they got rid of the background a few years ago that looked like the set was on fire.

  9. Marlys M says:

    Thanks for the memories! I enjoyed the KELO-Land memories on Eye on KELO-Land last night. I can remember watching Burt, Hartig, Dave, Steve, Bart Kull & Doug. I probably missed somebody but it isn’t intentional. I am wondering who was 1st with HD. Both KELO & KSFY say they are 1st. Who is right? Keep up the good work Doug

  10. Deb says:

    why do they have to have air-brushed makeup applyed to them before they go on air now??

  11. Paula B says:

    Great memories. Thanks for sharing. The photos brought back memories of growing up with KELO. Like others said, when the news was on, it was quiet time in our home, too. KELO was my parents choice then, just as it is the favorite in our home! That’s a lot of years of watching the best folks on the air!!

  12. Jeremy says:

    I believe I have a few vhs tapes that I used to record TV shows on and pretty sure they have the evening or 10 o’clock news on there from the late 80′s to the early 90′s. Great piece Doug, memories…

  13. Michael says:

    I seem to remember hearing that throughout its history KELO used the same, expensive (six figure, I believe) cameras that the network news programs used which is why KELO news always had such a great picture, while the other local newscasts looked like they were shot with some $100 camera picked up at Sears. KELO news always looked great–even before HD.

  14. Ann says:

    Marlys M –
    I’m no expert, but I think KSFY was first to have “partial HD”, while KELO is the first to have “full HD”. I’ve noticed the difference on that ‘other’ station it goes back and forth, which is distracting. I think KELO waited to do the “full HD” to avoid that – better to wait and do it right, IMO – which is what KELO has done.

  15. jaycee says:

    I am sure I will get use to the new set, but the two words that came to mind when I saw it were the same as Scottish Goldfish said….”busy” and “distracting”. To much color moving around.. almost cartoonish. That’s just my opinion but I was a little disappointed after hearing all the hype for so long.

  16. Donn says:

    Are the camera operators out of a job now?

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