The Very Original Stan Hubbard
To: Stanley S. Hubbard
Chairman and CEO
A number of us were talking the other day about how unique Minnesota entrepreneurial success has been; we seem to redefine the everyday consumer experience. Curt Carlson remade the premium business (Gold Bond Stamps) and continued that by redefining the hospitality and travel business. Carl Pohlad practically reinvented modern-day soft drink distribution, and the consumer banking experience. Mass marketing was pioneered by the Daytons (Dayton’s and Target), expanded to book merchandizing (B. Dalton), and later perfected as niche mass marketing by Richard Schulze (Best Buy). We take all of these innovations from health maintenance organizations to niche mass marketing to consumer banking for granted.
And we usually overlook, and consequently take entirely for granted, the one area of innovation that touches our lives most frequently: radio and television. Hubbard Broadcasting was started by your father, Stanley E. Hubbard, in 1923 as a family-owned company, when he launched radio station WAMD. This radio station, which we now know as KSTP, is the oldest continuously operating AM radio station in the Upper Midwest. Hubbard Broadcasting also launched KSTP-TV, thought to be the first television station in the Upper Midwest.
KSTP was the first commercial television station in Minnesota to put its broadcast in high definition digital format. And recognizing that we live in a truly Technicolor world, KSTP was the first full-time color television station in the United States.
We remember in the late ’80s, when it was you who told us all that we would soon have a seven-inch satellite dish resting on our windowsill that would bring us hundreds of television stations. In succeeding years, rockets changed, orbiting satellite technology changed, but what did not change was your vision of bringing satellite television to every house. The financial commitment necessary to give birth to the United States Satellite Broadcasting Company became a “bet the farm” financial risk for Hubbard Broadcasting. No one else, anywhere in the world, had accomplished what you set out to do, but you did.