Gold & Silver Circle

2009 Gold Circle: Bill Carlson + Chester Reiten

Bill Carlson

Bill Carlson was one of WCCO’s most versatile anchors, and one of this region’s most recognized and beloved personalities. His fifty-year career, at WCCO Radio and WCCO TV, is a testament to nice guys finishing first.

Carlson literally grew up in the broadcast business. He started at WCCO Radio as a page while still in high school. While there, he produced many popular WCCO Radio programs as well as establishing himself as an on-air talent. At the same time, he attended the University of Minnesota, where he received a degree in radio and television speech.

In 1959 he transferred to WCCO TV where he began a television career that included nearly every phase of radio and television work including Assistant Promotions Director, Director of Operations, Associate Research Director, and Chief Announcer. He also hosted a phone-in talk show, a teen dance program and several game shows, as well as hosting WCCO TV’s “The Morning Show”, “The Midday Scene”, “This Must Be The Place”, and most recently, “WCCO 4 News at Noon”.

Most known for covering the Arts and Entertainment beat for WCCO, Carlson interviewed hundreds of Hollywood stars over the years including John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Paul
McCartney, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand and Britney Spears. His interviewing style earned him the respect and admiration from all he met. His connections with the entertainment industry led him all over the world.

A native Minnesotan, Carlson was born in Thief River Falls and raised in St. Paul. He and his beloved wife Nancy Nelson Carlson were actively involved in animal rights issues, working extensively with the Minnesota Humane Society, and the Fun for Animals. They also worked with ex-offenders from the Minnesota prison system.
Carlson died in 2008, succumbing to prostate cancer. Loved and respected by his colleagues, he was a pro to the end, wrapping up his film reviews for the 2008 Academy Awards a mere week before he died.

Chester Reiten

Chester Reiten has had the unique opportunity to guide television from its infancy to its maturation into a digitally-delivered, full-grown force in our lives.

Reiten began his career in television at KCJB-TV in Minot, North Dakota in 1955 – soon after the station signed on as the state’s first. Within five years, Reiten was the owner of the newly-named KXMC-TV in Minot and helped establish television in the region.
Reiten involved his station in the community by featuring local kids baseball teams on weekly live game broadcasts, broadcasting local musicians in live concerts, and using the station to broadcast critical alert messages during a devastating flood in 1969. KXMC also pioneered the now-commonplace broadcast of live sporting events.
Reiten expanded his broadcasting interests into Bismarck, Dickinson, and Williston with affiliated television stations, and operated several radio stations in Minot.

In addition, Reiten served his community as mayor and state senator for several years and has been presented North Dakota’s highest civilian honor, the Roughrider Award.

In the 1990s, Reiten transferred ownership of his television stations to his children. Son Tim is the president of Reiten Television and operates KXMB in Bismarck and KXMA in Dickinson. Son David is chairman or Reiten Television and operates KXMC in Minot and KXMD in Williston. Daughter Kathleen is at KXMB in Bismarck. He has two other children not involved in the industry: Melanie, who resides in San Diego and Steve, who lives in Harwood, North Dakota.

Chester Reiten and his wife Joy live in Minot, North Dakota.