Aug
20
2007

Power to the people: WCCO-TV to use cyclists’ energy for newscasts

Chain reactions: WCCO-TV will be attempting to power up its newscasts from the Minnesota State Fair from electricity generated by people riding stationary bikes at its fairgrounds studio. Can it be done? Stay tuned to channel 4.
Chain reactions: WCCO-TV will be attempting to power up its newscasts from the Minnesota State Fair from electricity generated by people riding stationary bikes at its fairgrounds studio. Can it be done? Stay tuned to channel 4.
Have you ever wanted to “make the news?”

WCCO-TV will be giving its viewers that chance, literally, this year at the Minnesota State Fair. The station is planning to power up several of its evening newscasts from the fairgrounds on the power generated through the legs of fairgoers riding stationary bikes.

You might have seen the ads on TV. Information on the WCCO-TV website is still sketchy as to what days and times the pedal-powered newscasts will be aired and how to get involved. The Minnesota State Fair opens Thursday and runs through Labor Day.

But any one who’s been to the Science Museum’s Experiment Gallery knows that a good amount of electrical energy can be generated from some quick pedal strokes on a bike. A stationary bike there generates enough power, usually in quick bursts of pedaling, to run a radio, light up light bulbs and even ring a doorbell.

Of course, I suppose if you’re pedaling to power the news and you don’t like the anchorperson or reporter coming on the screen, you can suddenly stop and put them off the air. I think I’m coming to like this concept more and more!

Here’s my question: how many cyclists do you think it would take to power up the equipment of a newscast? I have no idea, but I’d love to hear your predictions. Do you think this is even possible to accomplish? I’m sure WCCO is very interested, as well.

No votes yet

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Bob from ALAMN's picture

Doing the bike thing for WCCO-TV at the Fair is easy. I did it yesterday. Just show up, and if a bike is open hop on and they will tell you what you need to do. You can see your progress on a computer screen. They already have nearly a quarter of the power needed for Friday's 5 p.m. broadcast.

While at the Fair, be sure to visit the American Lung Association of Minnesota's new "Path to Cleaner Air" exhibit at the Eco Experience display. We are outside, at the base of the of the big wind turbine blade.

Bob Moffitt
Communications Director
Clean Fuel & Vehicle Technologies program
American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest

posted on Thu, 08/23/2007 - 10:04am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The people are actually pedaling to charge 24 - 12 volt batteries. They will use the power stored in the batteries to power the news cast.

posted on Fri, 08/24/2007 - 9:40pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

As to Tuesday night's 10 p.m. newscast, WCCO reported that it's powered up two of its State Fair newscasts with bike-power from its fair booth visitors. So I guess it's possible to accomplish, but not on a consistent basis. I think they should have Don Shelby and all the other on-air talent read the news while pedaling their own bikes and powering their own broadcast!

posted on Wed, 08/29/2007 - 11:02am
Thor's picture
Thor says:

The final tally: WCCO was able to do four newscasts powered by pedalers during the run of the Fair. I myself was too busy eating a pork chop on a stick to take time to pedal while I was the Fair.

posted on Wed, 09/05/2007 - 2:05pm

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