Newscaster

Dave Moore (newscaster)

Dave Moore (1924–January 28, 1998) was a popular Minnesota television personality who was one of the most well-recognized figures in the area from the 1950s through the time of his death. Moore hosted the evening news on WCCO channel 4 from 1957 until he retired to a more leisurely schedule in 1991. When recounting Moore's life story, area journalists never forget to include the fact that he was only offered the anchor post after Walter Cronkite turned it down. Like Cronkite, Moore reported the news like an everyday man off the street—which he always contended he was. The string of good luck that let Moore become such an influence in the area was sometimes a source of guilt for him. His humble nature and commitment to hard journalism is considered a major contributor to the high quality of Twin Cities newscasts through the 1990s.

Dave Moore was born in Minneapolis and grew up there. He only briefly left the area to work at a Battle Creek, Michigan radio station in 1949, but returned to Minneapolis when he heard of job openings at channel 4 in 1950. Within an hour of walking into the station, he was working. At this time, the station was known as WTCN, but was purchased by WCCO radio in 1952. The WTCN call sign was recycled a few years later for channel 11, which eventually became KARE. Moore had a variety of jobs in the early years of channel 4, announcing and hosting for multiple shows. He began anchoring the news at 10 p.m. in 1957, then also started hosting the station's 6 p.m. newscast in 1968.

Moore, along with several other station personalities, had a penchant for comedy. In 1962 he began The Bedtime Nooz, a satirical late Saturday night news show that also featured weatherman Bud Kraehling and others from the station. This lasted for about a decade, a period during which Moore also appeared in some local stage performances and received acting training at the University of Minnesota. Moore had originally wanted to become a stage actor, so The Bedtime Nooz and some of the other shows he appeared in offered outlets for his creativity. One of his most revered stage performances occurred at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN, in 1992. Dave starred in a production of "On Borrowed Time," by Paul Osborne. Playing the part of "Gramps," the production was unique as it was directed by Moore's son, Peter. The production was considered so successful, that the company decided to revive the show in 1993, due in no small part that the show's co-star, child actor Kirk Hall, Jr., was going to "out-grow" the part of "Pud," the grandson of Gramps.

WCCO is considered by many to have originated the "happy talk" that is often used to attract viewers in modern local newscasts, at least among stations in the Twin Cities. It has been said that Moore's happy talk was merely a result of the camaraderie among the newscasters rather than any contrived plan, although his acting ability certainly could have fooled people easily. Beyond that, however, Moore actually resisted many of the other changes made over the years to increase viewership. He was not very fond of crime reporting, and didn't like putting those stories as lead-ins for the news. Also, while Moore was a strong supporter of women's rights, he didn't like it when he was placed next to a female co-anchor in the 1970s. Moore felt that having two people read the news distracted from the stories being told. His first co-anchor was Susan Spencer, replaced a few years later by Pat Miles.

Moore was a heavy smoker, which contributed his voice becoming raspier over the years. Even as he grew older and sported graying hair, he continued to be a popular figure. He kept very busy, hosting the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 10 p.m. newscasts along with making periodic hour-long documentaries under the name The Moore Report, for which the station won many prestigious accolades. 1984's "Hollow Victory: Vietnam Under Communism" won a George Foster Peabody Award. It was made after the station spent a year and a half negotiating for a 35-day visa to visit the country.

The anchorman's humble nature meant that he did not push for high salaries. While reporters in other significant markets around the country negotiated more and more expensive contracts, Moore and other newscasters in the Twin Cities were more modestly paid.

In 1985, Moore stepped down from the 10 p.m. newscast, eventually retiring from the evening news in 1991. From then until he became ill in 1997, he hosted Moore on Sunday.

In 1986, Moore published a book of his memoirs and correspondence with viewers throughout his career, titled A Member of the Family (ISBN 0-9617-4230-5).

Two of Moore's sons, Andy and Pete Moore, began working on a play to remember their father's life. They struggled for a long time to find a good way to structure the play, eventually deciding to base it on their own stories and recollections rather than creating a dramatic piece with an actor portraying the newscaster. Called Sons of the Bedtime Nooz, it was performed at the Great American History Theatre in Saint Paul in early 2005.

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