WCCO journalist to speak Monday

Published 2:30 pm Saturday, May 1, 2010

A former WCCO journalist of more than 20 years will speak Monday to students and the general public.

Curtis Beckmann is a graduate of Wells High School. He attended Mankato State University, and after three years in the U.S. Army, he attended and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1967.

He is slated to speak at the United South Central High School auditorium at 10 a.m. and at the Wells Library at 2 p.m.

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In the Army, he edited troop newspapers at Fort Snelling in St. Paul and in Mannheim, Germany.

Even before he graduated from the university, Beckmann was employed as a reporter for WCCO Radio. He became the news director there in 1971, only the third news director in the station’s history. He remained in that post for 16 years.

Beckmann left WCCO Radio in 1987 to form his own company called Radio City Network News, a company that produced news and public affairs products for radio stations in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. Among those products was the syndication of a daily sports report from Paul Giel, then the former U of M athletic director and his own law program. It has been on the air on several stations for 18 years.

In 2000-2001, he was editor of the Skyway News in downtown Minneapolis. He had written a column for the Skyway News through much of the 1980s.

In 1978, he interviewed his elderly great uncle Christ Beckmann of Wells and heard stories about the Beckmann family that dated back into the 19th century. That interview, and another in 1979, led to his pursuit of family histories that included his mother’s extended family and his grandmother’s emigration from Norway to the U.S.

He is fond of saying “the future for each individual is empty without some understanding of that individual’s past. The best time to begin gathering family histories is yesterday.”