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Stunner: WCCO-AM buys out Eric Eskola

Longtime WCCO-AM state Capitol reporter Eric Eskola has been bought out by the Good Neighbor. Eskola, who only had a brief time to talk, says he will sign the buyout papers Wednesday and does not know his exact end date.

MinnPost Capitol correspondent Doug Grow says Eskola informed the press corps about five minutes before Gov. Tim Pawlenty's afternoon press conference. "Everybody was stunned," Grow says.

On some level, it shouldn't be so stunning — WCCO is casting off several employees hired on the higher side of a two-tiered wage scale. While Eskola might be the highest-profile 'CCO-er to exit the stage in a wave of buyouts, Dark Star, Tim Russell and Jeff McKinney have all cashed out in the last month.

Still, Eskola is a 30-year Good Neighbor employee who has prowled the Capitol since 1985. Talk about institutional memory going bye-bye.

The buyout does not involve Eskola's stint on TPT's "Almanac," though I didn't have a chance to ask him whether the loss of one gig will affect the other. (Update: Politics in Minnesota says he's staying.) Certainly, between his two media perches, he's become one of the most recognized political reporters in the state. It will be interesting to see if someone else picks him up, and whether he wants to be picked up.

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Comments (13)

Sorry to say so, but I think his departure was inevitable. How much was 'CCO paying him? Someone can probably be hired for 1/10th his salary.

Certainly "someone can probably be hired," but will that person be 1/10th the reporter that Eskola is? Unbelievable.

Whatever happened to company (not to mention listener) loyalty? For years you could tune in and listen to Steve Cannon, Boone & Erickson. Now 'CCO is just another revolving door and is going the way of all of the other radio stations. I grew up with these guys and you always could depend on them...not anymore. Seems like the bottom line is more important than what the listeners want. Sad...very sad.

Any lick of a reason I had to listen to 'CCO just got bought out.

What a tragedy. Sorry Mischke, I'm not up that late.

They could certainly hire someone for 1/10 his salary but, you get what you pay for. Whatever credibility the news department at WCCO has, will exit with Mr. Eskola. What a shame.

Just two Saturdays ago Eskola proved why you keep guys like this around. At the DFL State Convention in Duluth was Big MPR with at least
4-5 on-air people in the DECC. They were covering the endorsement battle for Gov. Anchored by their studio in St. Paul. They kept cutting back and forth to NPR music programming. During a forgettable song and underwriting commercials, 'CCO pounced! Newser Esme Murphy at the studio sensed that lone reporter Eskola had a potential story. Rukavina was throwing in the towel. Eskola-Murphy plunged ahead and postponed the commercials and callers. Rukavina gives one of the best 'colorful' speeches in a long time. Call's it quits and throws his support to Kelliher. RT,Thissen & reNEW MN just got Pearl Harbored on live radio and MPR with all their staff and taxpayer money MISSED it. Here's to Double E the Flying Finn from Central Hillside!

100% agree with John Olson. No reason to listen to that station anymore except for major sporting events. Amazing how CBS has blown up one of their most famous "clear channel" stations in such a short amount of time.

There's no one left that's worth listening to. Dave Lee? Nope. Hines? Nope. Williams? Nope. Max? No way in _____. Nelson? Worse than Max. Mischke? I don't listen to radio at 10 pm. Overnights? What do I care about a national broadcast?

Jergen Nash just tweeted that he's considering a buyout. Stop the madness!

They still have Sid!

I hope Miscke doesn't get sucked into the cess pool environment of CCO. Sad news about Eskola. Maybe he is set to retire? If not, I'm sure many other local outlets would be lucky to have him.

Eric Eskola leaving? Now, there is no doubt in my mind that this station has lost the news and political edge that made 'CCO and this market one of a kind. I can't wait to hear the sounds of panic in the executive offices of 'CCO and their parent company CBS. This station is in deep trouble. I worked with Eskola a couple of times when I worked at the TV staion. He really knew his stuff.

I would see Eskola on "Almanac" and hear the old Sid Hartman introductions on Sunday and wonder why they didn't give him a whole show. Far more interesting than Dave Lee. With KSTP going all-sports, 'CCO might have a chance, but not if they keep hiring the frighteningly dull. Good luck to Erik.

I, too, will have no reason to listen to WCCO any longer. Whatever they paid him at 'CCO wasn't enough!

I have been having breakfast with Eric Eskola for most of his 30 years at 'CCO. Now my mornings will be silent--unless some other station offers Eric a contract. It amazes me that a station that was once the best in the Twin Cities can degenerate into a two-bit operation, presumably in the interest of saving a few dollars.

Best of luck to Eric.