Veronica De La Cruz made her long-awaited debut on KPIX Tuesday night and it was impressive, to say the least.
De La Cruz, a Bay Area native and highly-touted anchor from NBC in NY, was confident, relaxed, and delivered a first-outing performance which was very good on a number of fronts.
She actually made Allen Martin look better--Martin is an old-school, read-it-straight anchor--nothing wrong with that, but occasional laughs and a look of comfort brings out viewer comfort toward the news reader and Martin seemed more at ease with De La Cruz on the set. Furthermore, De La Cruz' no-nonsense approach was nicely paced and offered a much-needed fluidity to the 6 PM News.
There were no cutesy, self-serving remarks off the cuff --she didn't try to immediately, awkwardly force her personality on the first night out. She was genuine and sincere, all the while professional and frankly, that's refreshing. A good look indeed.
She made one minor guffaw: she messed up pronouncing "Inverness" as "In-VER-ness", everyone's human. Other than that, she rated a B+ grade and provided KPIX with a solid and seasoned pro who provides the station a legitimate star in the making.
Martin has to be happy too; I've always thought he's a fine and talented TV journalist--just at times he can come off as robotic and implanted. He was noticeably more jovial Tuesday and for PIX, that's good too.
Lastly, De La Cruz takes a bit of the heat off Elizabeth Cook, who frankly is a lot better anchor than she's given credit for. With DLC on the 6, Cook can hone her skills for the 5 and 11 and not try to spread her wings too far. Putting aside the petty in-house hostility she's dealt with Martin, (which seems to have been resolved), Cook is by no means great, but can be an emerging presence without worrying about too many content matters.
I asked a fellow PIX anchor via text what she immediately thought of De La Cruz's style: "She's a very good news reader." It was no knock. The anchor was impressed. I concur, and given De La Cruz' mucho-on-the-plate personal issues that delayed her outing, I think things went swimmingly.
Kudos to Dan Rosenheim and Bruno Cohen for this hire.
*Steve Sklenar, the ousted Cumulus SF Market Manager, was essentially made a scapegoat for the massive problems that currently affect a majority of the stations under his watch, which ultimately cost him his job. (In reality he really quit, like this person too) Even as the big enchilada, KGO Radio, eventually moves over to a new hybrid of "live and local" content, Atlanta was unnerved and had to make a move toward making life more miserable for Sklenar. , (Sort Of) Moreover, KFOG has a plethora of problems inside and outside its division fueling the latest rumors that if the NASH experiment in San Jose is a winner, KFOG might be nashed itself.
Oh, and Atlanta senior Cumulus suits were none-too-thrilled Sklenar had the audacity to talk to me. Can you just imagine that?! Only Sklenar knew what I was on to and did the right thing. Of course he doesn't have a job now.
I wouldn't be too worried.
I said we wouldn't delve into anything about KGO unless they made legitimate news directly or indirectly. This development fit the latter criteria.
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