Francis Van Konynenburg

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Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame

Francis Van Konynenburg

Inducted 2002

Known to his employees simply as "Mr. Van," Francis Van Konynenburg was a true pioneer of Minnesota television who helped found WCCO TV and was one of Minnesota broadcasting's greatest leaders.

He joined the national advertising staff of the Minneapolis Tribune in 1929, moved to radio sales in 1943 at WTCN Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and soon became the station's vice president and general manager. He quickly saw the potential for another new medium, and convinced the station's owners to go into television. He oversaw all the station's television preparations, and WTCN TV (now WCCO TV) took to the air July 1, 1949. A gifted executive and manager, he led WCCO TV's growth into one of the most successful television stations in the country, and he was well known and highly respected among his peers in the industry. He served as chief operating officer of the WCCO TV's parent company, and later as chairman of its executive committee, until his retirement in 1976. A community leader, he was active in many civic and charitable organizations, and volunteered at Abbott Northwestern Hospital until he was nearly 90.

Francis passed away May 16, 2002 at the age of 98.