WCCO-AM 830 Minneapolis MN Honest to Goodness 1973

Back in 1973, WCCO-AM was the 10,000 pound gorilla of Twin Cities radio. This 50,000 watt heritage station was always #1 in the ratings by a large margin. The other stations all competed for second place. At the time, WCCO’s 10PM news attracted a larger audience than all of the local TV stations combined! The format was Full Service, as it had been for decades. Legendary personalities like Charlie Boone, Roger Erickson, Howard Viken, Steve Cannon, Franklin Hobbs, and many others made ‘CCO the station Minnesotans turned to more than any other.

For many years, WCCO aired a program called “Honest to Goodness.” It was hosted by Steve Edstrom and Ray Christensen and aired from 9:06 to 10:00 each weekday evening. Listeners would send in cards, requesting to be called by the program hosts. The hosts would then select a card, call the person, and ask them a trivia question. If the listener answered correctly, they would win the jackpot which started at $8.30. If they gave a wrong answer, the jackpot would be increased in increments of $8.30. A bottle of Old World Panel Care from Plywood Minnesota was always given as a consolation prize. Occasionally, “Abner the Engineer” would drop in a special sound effect, signifying that the caller had won the “bonus” prize for that night’s show. The program was very popular. Since WCCO’s clear channel signal reached across the country at night, the station received cards from listeners in many areas far away from Minnesota.

This recording is a bit “choppy.” I was only 8 years old when I made it and was trying to save tape since I had less than 20 minutes’ worth left on one side of the cassette. So, I’d hit the pause button whenever I thought too much tape was being wasted on unnecessary material. I’ve cleaned it up as much as possible. This is a long file (15.8MB), but worth the time it takes to download. Recordings of “Honest to Goodness” are somewhat rare. You don’t find many floating around the Internet. At the conclusion of the show, you’ll near the live news adjacency spot for the Chester E. Groth Music Company. Then, the “Your Nighttime Neighbor to the Nation” Legal ID, followed by the introduction of WCCO newsman Dick Chapman.

This was recorded from my home in Apple Valley, Minnesota, using a Spartan-Atlantic “shoebox” cassette recorder with built-in AM radio. Source tape is an Audio Magnetics C-60 Compact Cassette. A fancy term for a cheap “bag cassette” which typically sold 3 for $1.99 or less.


4 thoughts on “WCCO-AM 830 Minneapolis MN Honest to Goodness 1973

  1. Dick Chapman

    Honest to Goodness first featured Randy Merriman and Dick Chapman. It was the brain child of WCCO Radio’s General Manager, Larry Haig. He wanted to capitalize on the TV Game Shown Scandals about cheating, by airing an honest show. Merriman had been a national TV star himself on the network broadcast, “The Big Payoff.” Merriman and Chapman hosted the show years before Christiansen and Edstrom. The show outranked TV at the time, largely because of the odd assortment of listeners who participated. You spelled my name wrong. It’s Chapman, not Chatman.

  2. Drew Post author

    Hi Dick,

    Great to hear from you! Sorry I got your name wrong. I also wish I had more tape of you doing the 10:00 news. My only defense is that I was just 8 years old when I recorded this, so I hadn’t yet learned the finer points of audio recording and archiving.

    How long were you with WCCO?

  3. mvgossman

    Hi Drew, I can’t see post dates so don’t know how old this post is but I enjoyed your air check. We have much in common, we’re both boys in 1973 listening to a Lloyd’s radio in Apple Valley in 1973 for one! Looked something like this: http://www.radiomuseum.org/images/radio/lloyd_s_electronics/9n24b_37a_459039.jpg

    Mr. Chapman, always liked listening to your 7:00 news when dad drove me to school on the way to work. Could write 50 pages on WCCO memories so will stop…

    I stumbled upon your air check when I searched “chester e groth music wcco” because that was a real staple of advertising in those days.

    But Drew, if you don’t have this book, put it on your Christmas list, I have it…


  4. Drew Post author

    I drooled over that radio! The Bloomington Holiday Village on 84th & Lyndale sold them. Price was around $100 if I remember correctly. Every year, I’d ask my parents to buy it for my birthday. Every year, they said “It’s too expensive!”

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