Thursday, September 29, 2016


Let me show you how we covered elections 50 years ago.

This was part of the election night studio at KFYR-TV in Bismarck, North Dakota in 1966.

In the upper right you see news reporter John Warren and sports director Roger Higgins (drafted for the night) waiting to go on the air and report returns.

A runner has just hand delivered returns from one of the local precincts and a couple of gals are busily toting up the results on hand-operated adding machines.

The bald-headed man is Evan Lips, a state senator and former mayor of Bismarck.

He shouldn't have been in that position but as a highly decorated university football player and ex-Marine, nobody was going to tell him to get out of the way.

Here's a view of our interview and telecast area with Bob MacLeod and I readying for a broadcast.

The "fancy" sets were designed and executed by the station's art director, Claire Anne Holmberg, who is checking the AP and UPI wire service machines with Wes Haugen in the background.

That big scoop in the upper left was a very hot television light.

In this picture I'm interviewing a local businessman, Thomas Kleppe, who was in the process of being elected to Congress.

He later served as head of the Small Business Administration and Secretary of the Interior.

It was a simpler era back in the 60's.

(KFYR-TV had only been on the air for 13 years.)

I still have many memories of those early days and the crude but complicated way we covered political events in the state's capitol city.

Nowadays the roof of the building is covered with satellite and microwave dishes.


L Lewis said...

I imagine you will see a push of a button from your computer to vote in your lifetime. "Enter"!

Stephen Hayes said...

It was a less complicated time, but I imagine you felt closer to the action than reporters do today.

Lowell said...

Sometimes I yearn for the "good ol' days." But they really weren't all that good for a lot of folks. I think a major problem today is our population growth. I am NOT talking about immigration but about the fact that the more people we get the harder it is to govern in a responsible manner. This is further complicated by the fact that today all sorts of morons creep out from under dark and slimy rocks and get elected to public office. It seems the media has fallen down on its job of reporting the truth about such people. Do you think that is true and that the media did a better job of informing the public 50-60 years ago? Of course, back then we didn't have the massive problem of a FAUX News which is dedicated to misinforming the people and is thus perhaps the major danger faced by our democracy.

Catalyst said...

Lowell, I think the proliferation of 24-hour cable news channels and social media has done much to mess up "the media". It bothers me when my nightly newscast of choice (NBC) starts virtually every broadcast with "BREAKING NEWS" and when another channel (ABC) seems to hire screamers. But I'm old now so I tend to just not get as irritated as I might have in earlier times. And with the Internet I can just pick and choose what I want to inform me. (Not always a good thing.)

Tom Cochrun said...

I fell in love with election night when I was a kid and watched, as fascinated in the way it was done as in the campaign results. The first night I worked was a city election, late 60's. It was radio so we had flexibility and could get on quickly. As a television News Director at the end of my "career" I was astounded at the technology we got to play with as well as the uber sophisticated vote count processing with interface to on air.

William Kendall said...

How time flies!

I've done election night from the perspective of a staffer at a polling station. It's rather enlightening.

In regards to your comment at my blog, the cranes are part of the renovation work on the Hill- it's going to take a few years for it all to be done.

Frank Phillippi said...

Good memories. Covering campaigns, conventions and election nights were the best fun we newsies could have.