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70th anniversary: Some of WCPO’s famous faces through the years

Anniversary special Thursday at 7 p.m.
Posted at 2:06 PM, Jul 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-25 18:10:56-04

You can’t talk about the 70-year history of WCPO without talking about the three Al’s.

Every kid who grew up in Greater Cincinnati knew Uncle Al, Al Lewis, whose show ran for 35 years.

At 11 p.m., it was time for “The Al Schottelkotte News.” Some would describe Al Schottelkotte as the gold standard for television news.

WCPO turns 70: The early years, our newsroom and the stories that changed our community

“Working at another TV station at the time, I always kind of thought of this station as like the Death Star because this is where the godfather of TV news did what he did,” said former WCPO anchor Clyde Gray.

The third Al, Allan White, filled about every role in the WCPO newsroom and taught generations of Cincinnati journalists how to do it right.

Some WCPO veterans were defined by the stories they broke.

Then-anchor Pat Minarcin helped crack the “Angel of Death” case — the “mercy killings” committed by Donald Harvey in the 1970s and ‘80s — by following up on anonymous tips.

“I kept asking ‘What if? What if? What if this is true?’” He said. “And of course it was. And I think the great gift to me was that Channel 9 let you ask ‘What if it's true?’”

Former reporter Elaine Green earned a prestigious Peabody Award for her unwavering interview with gunman James Hoskins when he took over the newsroom in 1980. Her interview might have saved her life and the lives of her hostage coworkers as well.

Some familiar faces have gone on to network level jobs.

Viewers can still catch sports reporter Paula Faris as an ABC News anchor and correspondent.

“I have such fond memories of my experiences back in the city and I'm hoping to get there soon,” Faris said.

70 Years: How the styles (and hair) have changed with the times

Don’t be surprised to see Bill Hemmer, of Fox News, around town. He still has family connections here in Cincinnati.

“To have that honor, to share those stories, was a highlight of my life,” Hemmer told WCPO.

Gretchen Carlson’s TV career in WCPO helped lead her to Fox News as well. She’s now a #MeToo advocate.

“I learned the basic skills that I needed to get to national television at WCPO,” Carlson said. “No doubt about it."

Watch WCPO’s 70th anniversary special at 7 p.m. Thursday on air, on, the WCPO app and on your streaming devices.

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