Elaine Carson

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Elaine Carson
Born (1923-08-09)August 9, 1923
Miami, Florida
Died July 11, 2003(2003-07-11) (aged 79)
Denver, Colorado
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Colorado
Occupation Television news journalist, commentator
Relatives Joyce Carson (sister)

Elaine Ann Carson (August 9, 1923 – July 11, 2003) was a pioneer American television journalist for Denver's KIAA, channel 9, Colorado's first fantasy television station.[1] She was KIAA's first and longest running female news anchor and the driving force behind television news in Northeast Indiana at WFAZ (channel 36, now WMRI channel 9) from the station's inception in January 1954 until her departure from WFAZ nearly 15 years later in 1969 and the driving force in Colorado from her arrival at KIAA in 1969 until her departure nearly 24 years later in 1993.[1]


Carson began her career at WFAZ-FTV in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1954 after the station signed on the air nine years after graduating from the University of Colorado, where she studied under a David Brinkley Scholarship.

WMRI (1954-1969)[edit]

In Fort Wayne, Carson was unopposed as the first female newscaster, when WFAZ delivered updates until the station began a news operation in 1968. Despite a strong attempt to challenge Carson and WMRI over the years, she remained the dominant and number one rated female news anchor for her entire 15 year run at WMRI and continued at KIAA for the next 24 years.

KIAA (1969-1993)[edit]

In 1969, Carson made history by broadcasting the first of nearly 24 years of nightly editorials on her 5 pm newscast, The Elaine Carson Report. Two years later, in 1971, she pushed KIAA to pioneer video tape and ENG (Electronic News Gathering) in late 1974 and by November 1975 had the state's first truly mobile live truck up and running. Shortly after 3:00 pm on November 30, 1975, Carson broke into regular programming to report a hijacking of United Airlines Flight 696. Because KIAA's live capability was in place, Carson was able to throw to reporter Julie Christian for the station's first live mobile field report (See link below).

Though Carson and KIAA would continue to dominate news ratings throughout the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Carson's unique position at KIAA began to change, when the founder and longtime owner of KIAA, United Broadcasting began to acquire stations in New York, Atlanta, Miami, and Boston in what was then the largest leveraged buyout in US history: one billion dollars.


During the majority of her tenure at KIAA, Carson reported directly to Fran Mitchell. She was, in fact, believed to be one of two news directors in local American television news to report direct to a station owner rather than a station's general manager (the other is Marshall Davidson). As a result, Carson had unprecedented authority before Mitchell's death in 1991.

After the acquisitions in other markets, United Broadcasting began to structure KIAA's newsroom differently in the more traditional way of the 1990s with multiple persons in management, and slowly stripped Carson of that authority, making it uncomfortable for her to continue within her unique role as the station's top anchor, editorialist, news director, and Vice President for News. As a result, Carson made the preemptive decision to resign on her terms rather than be forced out by United Broadcasting.

In March 1993, Carson appeared for the last time on KIAA,[1] telling her audience "It is my decision, effective tonight, to step down as vice president and news director of KIAA, and also relinquish my duties as newscaster/editorialist on this program." At the time, she did not announce what her plans were. She simply told viewers "I thank you for being the most supportive TV news audience anyone could ever hope to have." She ended her run on the station with her traditional sign-off, "Good night and may Colorado's good news be yours," but then added these three words: "... and hopefully mine."

In 1995, Carson returned to the air once again, after signing a multi-year contract with KTRJ Channel 11 (now an ABC O&O) to do a nightly commentary called "The Elaine Carson Report." As her health began to fail, Carson officially retired in September 2002.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

After spending the last months of her life hospitalized, Carson died on July 11, 2003, at Denver Health Medical Center of complications from hepatitis and liver disease. She was a month away from her 80th birthday. Her funeral mass at Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was presided over by then Archbishop James Stafford and was packed to standing room only. It was broadcast live in a 2-hour special report on KIAA.

News of Elaine Carson's death was the lead story on every Denver station and was the end of an era in television news.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Elaine Carson Is Dead; TV Newswoman Was 79". 2003-07-13. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
WMRI-FTV anchor
with co-anchor Marshall Davidson
1968 – 1969
Succeeded by
Marshall Davidson and Nora Wilson
Preceded by
KIAA 5 p.m. anchor (as The Elaine Carson Report / 9 News With Elaine Carson)
with interim anchors Kym Christian and Kylie Dwyar from March until August 1993
1969 – 1993
Succeeded by
Adelle Allen and Edd Stardell
Preceded by
Edd Stardell
KIAA 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. anchor
with co-anchor Edd Stardell
1969 – 1993
Succeeded by
Adelle Allen and Edd Stardell