Say good-bye to the 50-year-plus guys: WCCO’s Boone, Star Tribune’s Youngblood

Since I’m getting a little long in the tooth myself, I have more of an appreciation for guys who have topped the half-century mark in career duration. In the next few days, two guys who stepped away from the regular gigs in 1998 will hang it up for good.

WCCO’s Charlie Boone is a radio icon; since leaving from his weekday show, he’s been on Saturday mornings. That ends with the Dec. 18 broadcast, according to a station release, below. The 56-year vet gets the Don Shelby good-bye in the week leading up to the leaving.

Star Tribune small business columnist Dick Youngblood, like Boone, gave up his main gig years ago. He still writes weekly, but that concludes by month’s end. John Oslund’s pretty funny employee memo (“utter contempt”) is also below.

Boone first:

Legendary Twin Cities radio personality Charlie Boone will retire from WCCO Radio. The announcement was made today by Mick Anselmo, WCCO Radio General Manager. The Charlie Boone Show airs Saturdays from 6 to 9 a.m. Boone’s final show will be Saturday, December 18th.

“For more than 51 years, Charlie Boone has been the sound of home for generations of Minnesotans who turn on WCCO Radio,” said Anselmo. “It is a privilege to have worked with and listened to a Minnesota broadcasting icon.”

The week of December 13th will feature a look back at Charlie’s career on air and online at wcco.com. Charlie will appear on WCCO shows throughout the week.

On Saturday, December 18th, Boone’s broadcast partner of more than 30 years, Roger Erickson, will join Charlie along with family and friends.

“These almost 52 years have been a gift. CCO is where I met my radio partner Rog Erickson and where I met my life partner, Carol Heen who is the most important interview of my life.” says Boone. “I will always love CCO and I celebrate all of the people I work with.”

The Old Log Theatre will be hosting a brunch in April to celebrate Charlie’s career. More details will be forthcoming.

Youngblood:

Since 1998 Dick Youngblood has been writing about small businesses once a week as a freelancer. Until now.
In a second stab at retirement, Dick’s says his final column will run on Dec. 29.

“And I hope you run it on that Wednesday,’’ said the irascible newspaper man.

Youngblood started at the Minneapolis Tribune as the newspaper’s North Dakota correspondent in 1963, and moved to the Minneapolis newsroom the next year as agribusiness reporter. By 1968, he was an assistant city editor and a year later became business editor, a position he held for 14 years.

In 1983, he gave up his editing responsibilities to become a fulltime business columnist writing three times a week for the now-combined Star Tribune. Fifteen years later, in 1998, Dick retired for the first time. But he quickly agreed to write the once-a-week column.

As business editor in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the never-shy Youngblood could be heard throughout the newsroom button-holing reporters and demanding: “What have you got for Sunday business!’’

Their standard response became: “Utter contempt.’’

As a columnist, he holds the world record for use of the phrase “dad-blamed.’’

As a journalist, he covered some of the most important agriculture stories of his day, including the National Farmers Organization protests across the Midwest and his series on the collapse of the beef cattle market, which earned him national recognition in 1965.

A five-part series on the causes and effects of inflation earned him a John Hancock Award for Business Journalism in 1975.

And generations of students at the University of St. Thomas got their introduction to journalism from Dick, among them staffers Paul Klauda and Nicole Hvidsten; Liz Fedor and Dane Smith (former Stribbers), and Tom Webb (of the PP).

As he explains in his farewell column, he’s decided to “end my 55-year love affair with the daily newspaper business.’’

Time will tell. Meanwhile, your “friendly neighborhood business columnist’’ will be in the office for the next couple of weeks.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Sarah Janecek on 12/10/2010 - 09:56 pm.

    Happy for Youngblood, sad for me.

    His column has always been a must-read. I hope he knows how much we’ve appreciated and have been inspired by the stories he’s done on entrepreneurs and how they got started. Always, of course, enjoyed by me with the personal subtext that I would eventually find the million dollar idea that Youngblood would have write about. [Sigh. I’m still looking for the million dollar idea.]

    In my view, he’s been one of the most important journalists at the Star Tribune the last few decades.

    Very much hope he enjoys life’s next chapter. Heck of a career. Bully for him.

  2. Submitted by Tom Gavaras on 12/11/2010 - 07:19 am.

    The following website has many recordings of Charlie Boone & Roger Erickson along with other former WCCO Radio personalities: http://www.radiotapes.com/WCCO.html

  3. Submitted by Emma Carew on 12/11/2010 - 10:54 am.

    Dick might had a more surly character back in the day but by the time I interned on the biz desk in 08, his best advice to me was a cheerful: “keep it short, make it sing!”

  4. Submitted by Richard Parker on 12/11/2010 - 03:49 pm.

    I bought a used lawnmower from Youngblood in 1976, when my wife and I bought our first house. I went to his house to see it. As a Tribune copy editor dealing with the business editor, I was a little intimidated. I offered him $15 for it. He scowled, looked away, pursed his lips, looked back and countered: “Give me ten.” I gave him $10. The next day at work he insisted on giving me $5 back. I think I refused that, but memory dims. Anyway, the mower ran fine for 12 years.

  5. Submitted by Larry Werner on 12/13/2010 - 08:54 am.

    I was hired in 1983 as the Star Tribune’s business editor to liberate Youngblood from the pain of supervising and going to meetings. One of Dick’s favorite routines was to raise his eyes to the heavens as I passed his desk on my way to the daily news huddle and say, “Thank you, God.” Dick has been one of the finest pure writers at the Strib for all the years he’s been there. And he’s one of the last of the characters who made the newsroom much more than a place to work.

  6. Submitted by John Reinan on 12/13/2010 - 11:33 am.

    Earlier this year, Dick wrote a column based on an idea I pitched him. My client, a small manufacturer, was thrilled to be interviewed by a legend (his word, not mine).

    He endured three hours of Dick’s relentless grilling about every facet of his business, especially the finances.

    And he loved it. He said it was the journalistic equivalent of a Harvard Business School course.

    I have no way of knowing for sure, but my sense is that Dick’s departure is also going to leave the Strib newsroom dangerously short on Nodak natives.

  7. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 12/13/2010 - 04:47 pm.

    Amen to Larry. I worked in the same newsroom as Dick for decades, catching both the lash of his quick temper (almost always followed by an apology) and the kindness of his compliments, with which he was very free to his colleagues.

    Having survived a challenge in my youth of “who are you to be editing MY copy?” I went on to admire Dick as one of the best reporters and clearest writers at the paper. Dick didn’t grab for flashiness, but inside most of his columns was a turn of phrase at once both so clever and so perfect that I often laughed out loud and several times sent him notes of appreciation.

    I’ve no idea whether Dick cultivated a crabby facade or if it just came naturally to him, but we could see right through it to a guy who really cared about his craft, his news sources, his readers and the people with whom he worked.

    As Larry said, the newsroom — and Strib readers — will be much poorer for his absence. His long, fruitful career has earned him a very deserved admiration. As he might say: Not bad for a boy from North Dakota.

  8. Submitted by Mick garry on 12/13/2010 - 05:20 pm.

    I remember Youngblood as sort of a mix between Hal Holbrook and Morton Downey Jr. at St. Thomas. As a sophomore struggling with the craft of hammering out a sound news story, I would have envied those Tribune writers whose shortcomings elicited a mere “Dad-blamed”. Can’t remember anyone other than my father and a few of my coaches who ever tuned me up like he did. On the days it wasn’t my particular ass getting kicked, though, it was great stuff. Decades later, I still value the time spent in that classroom.

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