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Hubbard family tree keeps growing

by Jon Stemmle

Stanley S. Hubbard

Stanley S. Hubbard
Photo by Diana Watters

The Hubbard family has deep roots in the Twin Cities. And a seed planted in 1923 as a radio station has grown and branched, under the watch of Stanley E. Hubbard and son Stanley S. Hubbard, into a worldwide leader in broadcasting.

Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. is the entity behind the Twin Cities' stalwart television and radio station KSTP and a nearly a dozen other TV and radio stations in Minnesota. The company also founded United States Satellite Broadcasting Co., Inc., and serves as the managing general partner of Conus Communications, the world's first satellite news gathering organization, serving more than 150 television stations worldwide.

By branching out from radio to television to satellite technology, the Hubbard family has stayed on the cutting edge of communication technology for nearly eight decades.

“We see our tradition as 79 years of integrity in journalism," says Stanley S. Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting Inc., "trying to give all sides of an issue and trying as best we can to inform the public fairly, impartially, and accurately about matters of importance.”

Besides informing the public, the Hubbard family also has a tradition of giving back to its community. This philanthropy reached new heights last October with a $10 million gift earmarked for the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC).

“As long as we have been in the radio and television business, we have been hiring graduates of the School of Journalism, so we have a long-standing interest in the School,” says Hubbard.

That interest grew with a tour of Murphy Hall, the home of the SJMC. After battling to survive, the SJMC was thrown a lifeline in 1998 with the University's New Media Initiative. A subsequent $9.25 million renovation of Murphy Hall in 1999 revived the school and created a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility.

Turning a vision into reality

While roaming through Murphy Hall—past the high-tech computer labs and digital editing equipment on the ground floor, the state-of-the-art conference center on the first floor, and the ultra-modern classrooms on the second-Hubbard saw the future of journalism education.

What was once a journalism facility with 1940s typewriters had been replaced by a 21st century computer-age marvel.

“We explained how our vision for the school was as a platform for innovation and development of new approaches to undergraduate and graduate education, along with establishing strong collaborative efforts with the professional communities in the expanding information age,” says SJMC Director Albert Tims.

In the following weeks, Tims—along with John Finnegan, Sr. (B.A. '48, journalism, M.A. '65, mass communication), former executive publisher and editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and Joel Kramer, then SJMC Cowles Senior Fellow and former publisher of the Star Tribune—also explained how the New Media Initiative transformed the facility. But, they added, additional money would be required to fulfill this vision and keep the school on the cutting edge in journalism education.

That was all Hubbard needed to hear.

“We believe that those who can should, so we did,” says Hubbard. "We believe the journalism school at the U of M will one day-soon-be recognized as one of the best anywhere.”

“The Hubbard family has been a pioneer and innovator in broadcast journalism in Minnesota,” says Finnegan, a long-time family friend. "The family is totally committed to the school's program and direction. This gift demonstrated faith in the rebuilding of Murphy Hall and improvement of the School's academic program, and, I think, it encouraged others to contribute to the project.”

Giving backand looking forward

Mary Hicks, College of Liberal Arts (CLA) director of External Relations, shares Finnegan's view of the Hubbard clan, adding, "They are in the driver's seat of their company. It's as though they have a family gene of visionary, creative leadership thinking in every nook and cranny of the communications industry. It's rather remarkable what distinctive attribute each family member brings to the mix.”

Hubbard's philanthropy extends into giving his time to local boards such as the Minnesota Business Partnership, St. Croix Valley Youth Center, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), University of Minnesota Foundation, and University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees.

When he and his family aren't giving back to the place where it all began, Hubbard is looking toward the future.

“We plan to continue to strive for journalistic excellence and to serve our nation and the communities in which we operate,” he says—continuing to strengthen the roots that began in 1923 and growing the branches around the world.

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