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McGovern's KELO Connection

October 26, 2012, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

McGovern's KELO Connection

From announcing his runs for office on our air to his long-time friendship with the man who started KELO-TV, George McGovern's relationship with our station is a little piece of history we want to share with you as people remember the political icon on this day.

When McGovern ran for Senate in 1964, he made the announcement on KELOLAND-TV. But his relationship with the station started long before that, with its founder Joe L. Floyd.

"I suppose it's hard to imagine people that are more different in terms of lifestyles and personalities than Joe Floyd and George McGovern, but the fact is, there isn't any person I feel more comfortable with or closer to than I do Joe Floyd," George McGovern said in 1992.

In Floyd's biography, A Helluva Salesman, McGovern wrote the forward about their friendship of 35 years. McGovern wrote he never knew whether Floyd was a Republican or a Democrat, but he was his advisor, critic and travel companion.

"When George, after he had made that speech in Congress with regards to Vietnam, decided to go to Vietnam, he called my dad on the phone and said, 'I want somebody with me I can trust to take pictures because I don't trust anybody else,'" Joe H. Floyd said.

Joe L. Floyd's son, Joe H., remembers when his father traveled with McGovern as his personal photographer to Vietnam, Africa and Cuba.

"I remember the Cuban trip.  After Castro took over, George made a trip to Cuba and I remember only one picture from that.  A photograph of Castro driving a Jeep smoking a cigar and my dad was also smoking a cigar," Joe H. said.

That friendship may have led McGovern to give KELO-TV preferential treatment.

When it came time to announce his candidacy for President in 1972, he did it on KELOLAND News.

But McGovern says that favor was never returned; that in spite of their friendship, Floyd always was a fair newsman. 

"He's never once given me a political break on his television station, but neither does he give anybody else a political break.  He treats everybody the same. I guess I admire the professionalism Joe Floyd has brought as the pioneer of television in South Dakota," McGovern said in 1992.

McGovern also gave the eulogy at Joe L. Floyd's funeral when he died in 1992.

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