KTVU: From the very first reports that a jumbo jet had crash-landed at SFO, KTVU was on the air and its #1 anchor, Frank Somerville was describing the horrifying scene on the runway. It helped, too, that the station had live video footage which gave viewers a direct view of the jetliner's demise.
Somerville lives in the Oakland Hills; it helped that as the story evolved, he was able to get to KTVU's Jack London Square studios just moments after the first report of the crash from the airport.
Moreover, Somerville was calm, cool, and collected. He was helped out immeasurably by reporter, Tom Vacar, a veteran reporter and small-plane pilot himself and Ken Wayne, a fellow anchor and himself, a small-plane pilot. Both gave detailed analysis and were a steady compliment to Somerville's on-air work. This was vintage KTVU work and to its credit, the Oakland station went a full nine hours on the air and stayed with the story. In fact, KTVU flipped the Giants-Dodgers FOX telecast to sister station, KICU, and remained with the on-going developments at SFO.
All in all, KTVU did a stellar job and provided the best and most comprehensive coverage. GRADE: A
*KPIX5: Shockingly enough, the CBS O and O had the worst coverage. Wait, what coverage? Initially, PIX stayed with the golf tournament on CBS for a good hour-plus before finally breaking into the net and going with the story at SFO, but there was total embarrassment here. PIX had NO anchor, not even a reporter on the scene. PIX relied on content and actuality from its sister radio station, KCBS! Are you kidding me? No, worse yet, when they finally got Allen Martin into the studio, Martin looked dazed and confused, entirely out of the loop. Worse yet, Martin deferred back to KCBS coverage because they simply were not ready to cover the story. I'm wondering if they'll be a meeting at 855 Battery and who's head could roll. GRADE: D-
*KRON: Early on, very unimpressive work with a female anchor who looked totally out of place. I don't know her name and frankly, after watching her fumble and bumble, I had no interest. Of course, KRON may have felt the same: They didn't bother to put her name up and I'm not so sure that wasn't so bad after all. GRADE: D
*KNTV: Raj Mathai provided solid, if not spectacular, work and managed to snag a passenger eye-witness account of the crash. Overall, KNTV provided the necessary news with lots of overhead shots from the scene of the crash and a ton of phone interviews with aircraft experts who gave early analysis of what might have caused the crash. GRADE: B
KGO-TV: Dan Ashley did a good job describing the scene and providing a very respected, decidedly toned-down approach. Not too great was his partner, the out-of-place Cheryl Jennings who sounded as if she was describing a Royal wedding from time to time. Bizarre. GRADE: B-
KCBS: Great job from the all-news king of radio in SF. KCBS was front and center with capable anchorwoman, Janice Wright at the microphone, and given the enormity of the story, News Director, Ed Cavagnaro. Reporters en mass filed detailed packages from the scene at SFO to the hospital at SF General. KCBS clearly knows how to cover a major story even if it happens to fall on a holiday weekend. Nice work. GRADE: B+
KGO Radio: Oh, how the once-mighty have fallen...First off, Tim Montemayor was on the air when the crash occurred. I didn't hear much of the "Monty" but was told he was so bad, KGO's meager news vets in the newsroom were fuming over The Monty's screeching solo act. "Nails on board" was how one KGO staffer described his reporting. Beyond that, Montemayor also reportedly spoke about the "possibility of two planes" even though there was no word early on about that possible element. Simply inexcusable but not really surprising anymore from the news wannabees. GRADE: F
*Follow me on Twitter