Hubbard Broadcasting

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Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. is an American television and radio broadcasting corporation based in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was founded by Stanley E. Hubbard. The corporation has broadcast outlets scattered across Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, and New Mexico, but the flagship stations are KSTP radio, KSTP-FM, and KSTP-TV, which serve the Twin Cities region of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

KSTP has its origins in the Twin Cities radio station WAMD (“Where All Minneapolis Dances”), which started broadcasting live dance music from a local ballroom on February 13, 1925, with Stanley E. Hubbard as owner and station director. It was the first radio station to be completely supported by income generated by advertisements.

In 1928, WAMD cojoined with KFOY (Kind Friends of Yours) radio (first broadcast: March 12, 1924) in St. Paul to become KSTP, which was advertised as being operated by the National Battery Broadcasting Co. Hubbard became the merged station’s general manager, and bought a controlling interest in 1941. Ten years later, in 1938, Hubbard bought the first television camera available from RCA. Following the television blackout brought on by World War II, KSTP started television broadcasts in 1948.

After the Federal Communications Commission relaxed rules about television station ownership, Hubbard bought a second television station in the Twin Cities. Originally affiliated with the Home Shopping Network when it started operations in 1994, KVBM was bought by Hubbard and became general-entertainment independent station KSTC-TV in 2000. It has been used as an alternate outlet for ABC network programming when KSTP-TV is broadcasting coverage of Vikings football games or other special shows, including severe-weather coverage.

Aside from terrestrial broadcast stations, other current ventures include the film network ReelzChannel (launched in 2006), the arts network Ovation, and the Hubbard Radio Network, which is used to distribute KSTP’s local talk shows to subscribing radio stations in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The cable channels are run through subsidiary company Hubbard Media Group.

In 1981, Hubbard Broadcasting started U.S. Satellite Broadcasting (USSB), and later was instrumental in the development and launching of the first digital satellite system for television in 1994. The new satellite could deliver 175 channels to an (at the time) tiny, 18-inch dish. USSB’s development partner, Hughes Electronics (a General Motors subsidiary), launched its own subscription satellite service called DirecTV. The two services did not compete against each other (they carried different channels), and were often marketed together to subscribers by retailers and in advertisements until DirecTV’s 1998 acquisition of USSB.

Hubbard was also instrumental in the development of mobile satellite news vehicles. In 1983, Hubbard-owned Conus Communications and Florida-based Hubcom built the first Satellite News Gathering (SNG) mobile vehicle which allowed for much easier live news coverage for network and local television news operations. Hubbard also operated a 24 Hour News station titled All News Channel which featured longtime KSTP anchor Stan Turner. The news channel lasted from 1991 until it folded in September 2002.

Hubbard Broadcasting also owned the now-closed Bound to be Read bookstores in St. Paul, Albuquerque, and Key Largo. Hubbard Broadcasting took over the production of Country Top 40 in January 2020 after the death of the program’s founder Bob Kingsley. Fitz, a mononymous host with several syndicated country radio programs to his credit, took over as the program’s host.