My association with the WCCO radio station goes back a long way. It all started in 1949, when I was seven years old, listening 160 miles away in the town of Tracy, Minnesota to Golden Gopher Saturday afternoon football games. And a few years later, I was listening to the Minneapolis Laker games as they won NBA title after NBA title. And I would get my national and world news on the station, as well as growing up with station personalities who were well known in the state.
Over the years I’ve had WCCO on my radio while stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. I listened to Boone and Erickson, and later Dave Lee, in Illinois and Kentucky as I drove to Florida for spring training. Once, on a stormy, rainy night in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, I somehow got this clear channel signal from a Twins game while negotiating the twists and turns of the road on the way to New York. And I could get that signal all the way through Wisconsin when traveling east.
In Minnesota, for 70 years, it was the go-to station for sports programming – Twins, Vikings, Gophers – as well as news and weather. I listened to many other stations in Minnesota and the clear channel stations KMOX in St. Louis, WGN in Chicago and KDKA in Pittsburgh. But the Good Neighbor, as some called him, was still there.
The resort has started to change over the years and that’s to be expected. I have a friend from Princeton who was a WCCO fan. But when a WCCO figure he thought was too liberal came over from Chicago, he told me he had stopped listening to the station. This guy went back to Chicago so I don’t know if my friend went back to ‘CCO or not. But that was the start, I think, of some changes that made it a different kind of station.
However, these changes haven’t stopped me from listening, even though things are different. I may disagree, but I still listen to this station more than any other. Over the past two weeks, however, there have been some unusual events that have led me to comment on this week.
Last week, the day Queen Elizabeth died, I listened to the show that morning from 9 a.m. to noon and heard the presenter of that timeslot making fun of the Queen. She’s 96, she’s had a good run but I don’t think I should care about her are words that would accurately describe what she had to say. She kept repeating those words and she and her male counterpart in that timeslot laughed at the deceased queen later that morning.
You don’t have to like the queen but I thought that was in bad taste. This presenter has had serious medical issues for the past two years and when someone texted that she was talking a lot about her issues live, including the words “Why should I care about you?” , the presenter tried to play it down. There followed a firestorm over her comments about the Queen and she tried to apologize the next day, but it didn’t go over well.
I feel an affinity for the British and enjoyed the pomp and circumstances of the funeral. I heard comments were made on that same show this week about the Queen, but I didn’t hear them myself. It just didn’t seem like the right thing to do to make fun of her on a station I’ve respected for decades.
Then this week, when news hit about 48 people charged in a $250 million fraud case, money meant to feed needy children during the pandemic, the driving show guy from afternoon said it was moralistic (holier than you, self-righteous) to say there should have been more oversight, believing that the money was needed immediately to feed the children and that so there was no time for surveillance.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s enough to say that defrauding the government of $250 million is preachy. Those involved in the scheme are accused of using millions “to fund international travel, buy luxury cars and buy homes in Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky and along the coasts of Kenya and Turkey”, according to a StarTribune story. I don’t think the charges would have been laid if this government didn’t have the goods on those 48 people.
Maybe you think those two things I mentioned are not a big deal. But I don’t think they would have happened in previous years at WCCO. And I thought I had to say something.
THE TIME OF THE TWINS (AND THE VIKINGS)
As the Minnesota twins slipping further and further away from the top of the Central Division and appear to be heading for third place in the division after leading for much of the season, perhaps some of the reasons are obvious.
For example, the team fails to hit with runners in scoring position. The worst example of this is Byron Buxton who when playing (he probably won’t make 100 games this year) hit .145 with runners in scoring position (runners at second of third). Do you think he was swinging too much for the fences?
And then there’s this: The team has used 60 players this year, including 37 pitchers to try to address the team’s pitching issues. Those are amazing numbers, just like their numbers for road games and their record in September while they were still on the hunt.
And maybe we’re taking a hint from the fact that the team’s Triple A side, the St. Paul Saints, have used 83 players this season.
Then there is Vikings, a winner over the Packers in Game 1 and a loser to the Eagles last Sunday. It’s just a road game, folks, and you might find the Eagles aren’t too bad a team.
Minnesota’s defense gave up about 350 yards in the first half – first half!! And Irv Smith dropped a game-changing touchdown pass. And Dalvin Cook didn’t have 20 rushing yards – you’re not going to win when your best runner has that kind of performance.
September 20, 1962 – Princeton beat Braham 25-0 as Dale Thiel, Steve Lindell, Bob Robideau and neal hofius scored touchdowns.
Sep. 21, 1967 – Tom Enger, Denny Sternquist and Bob Backlund each scored twice in a 52-6 win over Rush City. Steve Carlson threw a touchdown pass to John Priess
September 21, 1972 – Princeton lost 34-0 to Orono in the first game of football. Mike Frœlich led the rush with 54 yards and Tom Rogde caught three passes for 43 yards. . . Princeton lost to Elk River in a cross country meet, but High Erwin was the individual winner
September 22, 1977 – Two interceptions by Dave Wankel led to touchdowns in a 24-6 win over Pine City. Bruce Klabunde rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown. . . The volleyball team lost to Elk River as Diane Provo led with six full serves (the scoring method then). . . In a 50-bird tournament for members of the Rum River Gun Club Russ Anderson and Frank Kosloski each beat 50 before Kosloski won a play-off.
September 23, 1982 – The swimming team beat Cambridge for the first time as the 400 freestyle relay team Tracy Schultz, Debbie Becker, Marie Nidecker and Mary Beth Sauer establish a school record. . .Brian Dorrinjured his knee, entered the game in the second quarter and threw for 169 yards to beat North Branch 14-13 in the Homecoming game. Trunk of Ron threw the winning extra point and Chris Prescott caught three passes for 73 yards.
September 17, 1987 – Tami Clemensen finished fourth for PHS at the Bluejacket Invitational cross country meet. . . Jason Miller threw for 131 yards but Princeton lost 21-7 to Mora.
September 17, 1992 – Brad Petersen marked twice and Frank Tadych once in less than three minutes in a 42-6 win over Pine City. . . Princetonwent 8-2 in tennis, beat North Branch and St, CloudCathedral, by Nicole Koskey win singles No. 4 by deciding the match 4-3 Cathedral.
September 18, 1997 – Nine former PHS players played college football at different levels, most ever coach says Doug Patnode. . . Princeton beat Chisago Lakes 34-21 in football as Chad Carlson thrown for 209 yards. . . Roxy Stanga junior tennis player at PHS, was part of a US Olympic hockey development camp in July and finished second in scoring.
September 19, 2002 – Princeton beat Shakopee 35-12 in football as 11 players tried to rush. Tyler Gronli thrown for 133 yards and Josh Lunden caught four passes for 110 yards. . . The volleyball team earned its first victory in Rum River, beating Big Lake as Jessi Hoft led with 18 wins.
September 20, 2007 – The football team rallied to beat Monticello 26-14 as Phil Klaphake scored twice and also threw a touchdown pass to Casey Milesko . . . Former PHS Receiver Josh Lunden caught 10 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in a game for Northwestern College, St. Paul.
September 20, 2012 –The volleyball team beat Becker in five sets after losing the first two as Jaydee Green led with 15 wins. . . The girls soccer team beat Rockford 4-1 as Brittany Beckman scored twice after netting both goals in a 2-2 draw with St Cloud’s Cathedral.
September 21, 2017 – The women’s tennis team defeated Monticello and St. Francis by scores of 7-0 and extended their winning streak against Mississippi teams 8 to 38 in a row. . . The volleyball team beat Carlton and Hibbing before losing to St. Francis in the North Branch tournament and then beating Sartell for third place.
(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and the Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has written about sports in the area for the past 54 years.)