A familiar face returned to WCCO-TV Thursday after being gone three weeks following knee surgery. Mark Rosen, we missed you. The Channel 4 sports anchor/reporter is a 40-year fixture at the station in a business that increasingly places emphasis on youth and short tenures.

I’ve been a fan for years. I used to work with him in the 1980s when I worked in the newsroom at 'CCO. He brings the right touch to an area of the media many consider the toy department. He knows that sports reporting/anchoring is not brain surgery, but also knows that thousands of viewers are passionate about their hometown teams. He treats his subjects seriously, but doesn’t take himself too seriously.

You get a better sense of him as a person and a commentator on his appearances on KFAN radio (and before that on WCCO and KQRS). He has time to step back from the daily scores and touchdown replays to provide insights into the personalities and drama behind the sports scene. His stint on KQ  in the 1980s was often humorous with Rosen actually getting write-in votes for governor in 1986 as the result a KQ on-air promotion. In 1988 KQ ran a campaign to “Free Little Markie Rosen” as he was about to leave for WCCO radio under pressure from management.

He has done some compelling interviews on his long-running “Rosens’s Sports Sunday,” where he has a chance to go more in-depth than the nightly show allows.

But it’s on the daily sportscasts where he has made his impact, night in and night out, over these many years. He makes the sports report fun and interesting and reassuring. He’s a homer, like the rest of us fans, but he calls them honestly so if the Vikings mess up or the Twins let a game get away, he doesn’t pull punches.

Longevity in the television business is rare, especially for on-air talent. Rosen is an exception to the rule. We welcome him into our homes every night because we feel comfortable with him and because we trust him. When he’s not there, the sports report just isn’t the same. Welcome back, Mark.

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