So, from a number of KGO-TV staffers, Leigh Glaser, who's set to leave this Sunday after 23 years at 900 Front, wasn't a big fan of News Director, Tracey Watkowski... Supposedly, Watkowski is a control freak. That wasn't what accelerated Glaser's decision to leave; she was ready to split and wanted to be with her family.
On the other hand, the polarizing Watkowski, who's been monitoring weekend newscasts with a mounting urgency, was known to call into the assignment desks and producer's box and make a lot of rash inquiries, including talent. Watkowski wasn't going after Glaser directly but some of her busy bees may have passed on some notes. Weekend newscasts, particularly Sunday nights, generate some of the highest viewer numbers in the Bay Area and Channel 7 in particular. The good news for Watkowski is that given KGO's fairly solid numbers her status is safe but some veterans aren't thrilled with her mercurial style. Factoid: Glaser's sudden decision to leave was announced to the staff via an e-mail by Watkowski. Draw your own conclusion.
*Veronica De La Cruz is set to join KPIX in May and will work the 6 and 10 News. We told you that and made an inference about what may have led management to look for a "prominent hire." Turns out, according to my spies at PIX, Elizabeth Cook, who was almost the face of the operation working the 5, 6, and 11 newscast, seemed to be burning out. Cook is a capable news reader and proverbial "cutesy female anchor look" but PIX's early-evening numbers have been steadily down and just recently they have been getting killed by KGO. The De La Cruz hire is the first major move by PIX upper management. She came to the city via MSNBC and will work alongside Ken Bastida.
NEWS, NOTES, and COMMENTS: Score round one of the guest wars between KNBR and 95.7 FM, "The Game" to Damon Bruce. Bruce, who began his new show on Monday, had highlighted his first guest, retiring Cal basketball coach, Mike Montgomery. Only problem was KNBR's PM driver, Tom Tolbert, had also told listeners "we're trying to get in touch with 'Mike Montgomery...turns out Montgomery did his scheduled 10 minutes with Bruce and about 30 minutes later, went on the air with Tolbert. Kudos to Bruce and The Game which seems to be attracting the better guests and scored another coup by nailing down Giants MGR, Bruce Bochy on its morning show a few days earlier. The latter was especially embarrassing for KNBR considering Bochy was on the A's flagship station. Probably helped that one of the Game's AM drivers is ex-Giant, Aubrey Huff...A note about Bruce: only heard bits and pieces of his first show and while I've had my ups and downs with the new Game PM host, he's at least a breath of fresh air and more than an alternative to commercial spot-heavy, KNBR with 800 hours of commercials, traffic and sports updates. While KNBR's Tom Tolbert has the advantage of Giants/Warriors lead-ins and a better signal and 50K-watts, Bruce's edgy repertoire will sway a few listeners over to FM...Freaky situation over at legendary leftie airwave Berkeley's KPFA where a bigwig was fired only she locked herself into the back office and blocked the door and has the support of many of her staffers...
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