Van Amburg was one of the most popular TV news anchors in the Bay Area during the 70's and mid 80's. He was the lead anchor at KGO-TV and was instrumental in "NewsScene", (Channel 7's news name), as the dominant TV news ratings king at the time. No station came even close to that of Circle 7's numbers.
Amburg was also the highest-paid anchor in the Bay Area pulling in close to a million dollars annually and developed his own investigative team. Along with the money, he also had considerable clout not only editorially, but up to the executive chain as well. So much clout to the point when he abruptly left KGO in 1986, there was a multitude of rumors that he was forced out or simply fired. No one, at least publicly, knows the full story. There was plenty of speculation, lots of it ego, control, and coin too.
Amburg's legacy was huge. He was part of a news team that was the birthplace of the industry term, "Happy Talk", plus he anchored with several other local station celebs: the late Jerry Jensen, weatherman, Pete Giddings, and sports anchor, John O'Reilly.
KGO's newscasts drew record audiences. As popular as they were with viewers, local rivals and critics often ridiculed Channel 7's news shows as nothing more than visual carnival acts with lots of murder stories and crime and grime. Indeed the term, "If it bleeds, it leads", got its origin at KGO. Whatever the case, it worked.
I've been calling around to inquire of Amburg's fate. He's still alive at age 81 and enjoying retirement in El Cerrito.
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