Carl Pellonpaa is best known for his pioneering work in the broadcast industry in Upper Michigan. He started in broadcasting in 1948 as an announcer on WJPD radio in Ishpeming while still in high school. He served in Korea in the U.S. Army and upon his return went to work alongside his father at Cleveland Cliffs, but only lasted a couple of years. He would briefly return to WJPD radio in 1959 before moving onto television.
In 1961 Carl joined the staff at TV6 as an announcer and was part of a core group who pioneered television in Upper Michigan. With few examples to guide them, Carl and the TV6 staff created “local television” on the fly. Everything was live, including the commercials.
In 1962 Carl was asked to help create a new program targeting the large Finnish American population in the U.P. Finland Calling or Suomi Kutsuu hit the air on March 25th with all content originally being presented in just the Finnish Language. Carl would organize local Finn dances and host travel groups to Finland to gather material for his show. That was the beginning of a 53-year run with Carl producing 2650 Finland Calling programs.
Carl retired from fulltime employment at TV6 in 1995 but continued to produce Finland Calling through 2015. During his tenure at TV6 Carl worked as weather and sports announcers, News Producer and Anchor, and Creative Services Producer.
Carl was very active in the community throughout his life. He served on the Marquette County Board of Supervisors, was appointed to the State Highway Commission, served on the Suomi College Board of Trustees, and was also a member of numerous civic groups and clubs serving in leadership roles for many of these organization.
Carl received many distinguished honors throughout his lifetime but one that stands out is The Knight of the Order of the White Rose from the Finnish Government for his ongoing support of the Finnish culture. Which is something he did with a passion throughout his life and one reason he was named Chairman of Finnfest USA held in Marquette in 1996.