Today April 2, 1912 Don Kneass ("K" silent) was born in Seattle, WA. Don was one of Portland's best-known newscasters in the 1940's & 50's. In 1921 his family had moved to Portland when Don was 9 years old. In June 1930 he graduated from Grant High School. In September 1930 Don began college at Oregon State, taking courses in advertising and journalism. In 1931 Don began as an announcer on KOAC. On April 2, 1933 Don's mother Flora died, wife of Arthur B. Kneass. On January 1, 1934 Don began as a sports announcer on KOAC.
On February 11, 1935 it was announced Don Kneass was now a KGW-KEX announcer. Both stations owned by The Oregonian. His first job was KEX sports announcer to assist ace sportscaster Rollie Truitt. On November 16, 1936 it was announced Don Kneass had moved to KIRO Seattle. In January 1937 Kneass quit KIRO and substituted for 5 weeks at KMJ Fresno, before returning to Portland and becoming a newscaster at KOIN in March 1937. On July 11, 1937 it was announced Don had returned to KGW-KEX. The Oregonian "Behind The Mike" column on Kneass: "A guy of action, always moving so fast he grows two black beards a day." On June 28, 1938 Donald MacDougall Kneass married Elenora A. Tingle in Bellingham, Wash. They met at KGW-KEX where she was Music Librarian. They lived at 1931 N.W. 29th Ave. (Apt.)
On September 25, 1939 Don Kneass became one of the first radio announcers in Portland to announce on Television during the Farnsworth closed circuit TV demonstration at Meier & Frank. "Behind The Mike" column: "Don Kneass got his nose sunburned in front of all those hot lights. The pictures were so clear you could count all his whiskers." By November 1939 Don was a newscaster on KGW-KEX. By January 1940 Kneass was KGW-KEX Chief Announcer. On July 21, 1940 Don's wife Elenora, died at age 26 at Good Samaritan hospital after an illness two weeks prior.
On September 27, 1941 Donald MacDougall Kneass married Margaret Patricia "Patsy" Thomas. They made their home at 1954 N.W. Johnson St. (Apt.). In March 1942 "Here's Kneass With The News" was heard three times daily on KEX for 15 minutes each at Noon, 12:45pm & 3:15pm Monday thru Saturdays. "Kneass With The News" would become Don's signature for the rest of his career. On April 27, 1942 "Here's Kneass With The News" was now heard at 10:15am on KGW as well. Don was also co-hosting "News Flashes From Hollywood" with Grace Elliott at 2:30pm on KGW.
On June 17, 1942 "Kneass With The News" picked up yet another broadcast on KGW at 7:45am. Don was thee news broadcaster to hear in 1942. KGW billboard's advertising "Kneass With The News" and Don pictured, were seen around Portland. On April 19, 1943 daughter Katharine Jean Kneass was born. On Dec 7, 1943 Don received his draft papers for the Army and was shipped out December 27th. Radio listeners had to adjust to no war info. from "Kneass With The News." On March 21, 1944 it was reported Private, Donald M. Kneass had spent seven weeks in an Army hospital in South Camp Hood, Texas.
On October 24, 1944 it was announced Private, Donald M. Kneass would be honorably discharged. On October 30, 1944 "Kneass With The News" returned to KGW-KEX and became News Editor. Heard on KGW 6:30am & 10:15am & KEX 3:15pm. On January 23, 1945 the last "Kneass With The News" aired over KEX, the station had been sold to Westinghouse. "Kneass With The News" continued on KGW at 6:30am, 9:15am and 12 Noon was added, previously on KEX. On August 11, 1945 son Donald MacDougall "Don" Kneass, Jr. was born. The Kneass family was now living in a home at 1231 N.W. 25th Ave.
On February 1, 1946 it was announced Don Kneass & William A. "Bill" Sawyer (from KGW) were co-owners of the new "Portland Announcing Studio" at: 708 Broadway building. Ad: "Training in Announcing, Newscasting, Acting, Commentating. Prepare now for the fast-growing opportunities in radio." Don was Supervisor and Bill was Director. March 26, 1947 Oregonian "Behind The Mike" column: "I want to thank KGW for the news by Don Kneass. He sounds like a well-informed, intelligent man who senses what should be news. He has an ease or manner of speaking rare in newscasting---(Lillian Logsdon, Portland)."
On July 22, 1948 second son Charles A. Kneass was born. On August 9, 1948 "Portland Announcing Studio" became "Northwest Broadcasting School" and moved to 1231 S.W. 12th Ave. On September 12, 1949 "Northwest Broadcasting School" moved to 531 S.W. 12th Ave. By October 1949 "Kneass With The News" was heard on KGW AM/FM Monday thru Saturdays at 6:15am, 7:30am, 9:45am & 12:15pm. By June 1950 Don was driving a British Ford "Anglia" automobile. On January 11, 1952 KGW carried its last "Kneass With The News" broadcast.
On May 4, 1952 "Kneass With The News" returned to KEX AM/FM Sundays at Noon with a 15 minute newscast, until its last broadcast on October 5, 1952. On October 13, 1952 "Kneass With The News" moved to KPOJ AM/FM weeknights at 6:30pm for 15 minutes. On November 13, 1952 "Northwest Broadcasting School" moved to 527 S.W. 12th Ave. On November 20, 1952 it was announced Don Kneass would become News Director of the new channel 12 if Northwest Television & Broadcasting Corp. were granted a construction permit from the FCC to build the station. Ultimately the C.P. was not granted.
On February 3, 1953 Don announced he was Manager of the new office for Art Moore & Son, Radio & TV station representatives, located in the Cascade Building. By April 1953 Kneass was a KWJJ account executive as well as being heard on KPOJ weeknights. On October 2, 1953 Don did his last KPOJ AM/FM "Kneass With The News" broadcast. On March 29, 1954 "Kneass With The News" was picked up by KWJJ for 15 minutes at 5:30pm, weekday afternoons. On May 1, 1954 "Northwest Broadcasting School" moved to 1221 N.W. 21st Ave.
By July 1954 Don had become KWJJ Asst. Sales Manager and had three newscasts on KWJJ daily. By December 1956 Don Kneass was KWJJ News Director. On March 4, 1957 "Kneass With The News" added its familiar time slot for 17 years on KGW at 7:45am on KWJJ. By November 1957 Don Kneass was living at 3322 S.W. Fairmount Blvd., where he lived for the rest of his life. On April 30, 1963 Don did his last KWJJ "Kneass With The News" broadcast. On June 1, 1964 Don Kneass became KPAM/KPFM News Director. "Kneass With The News" was heard at 7:55am, 11:55am & 4:55pm.
On January 3, 1966, 53 year old Don Kneass became a "Kisn Good Guy" when he joined KISN's 20/20 News Team with Total Information News twice an hour as News Editor. Five months later on May 27, 1966 Don must have had enough of Rock & Roll having returned to his broadcast roots at KEX as News Editor. In October 1968 Don began teaching broadcasting at "Northwest Schools." In 1969 Don Kneass retired from broadcasting. In about 1970 Don was in the hospital for a cancer operation. October 15, 1973 Don Kneass died at age 61 in Portland.
References: The Oregonian.