Several of you have written me asking why I write so much about KTVU. One e-mailer in particular struck a nerve: "You're obsessed."
We'll, not really, actually just passionate maybe. And there's nothing wrong with that because I can remember the days when Channel 2 meant something here and beyond.
I remember when KTVU News was a hallmark operation with a dedicated staff of great reporters, anchors, news people, producers, writers, news directors; a staff of professionals with both local and national admiration. A true legacy TV operation across the board. So yeah, what you may refer to as an obsession I only say I'm paying close attention to and don't regret doing so.
Of course it's been many years since the decline of KTVU. More and more reporters have retired, anchors too. KTVU was one of those stations that possessed very little turnover and much of its luster was the fact so many people stayed on and delivered such an immensely quality news product.
God, think of the days of Dennis Richmond, Rita Williams, Lloyd LaCuesta, Randy Shandobil; news directors like the great Fred Zehnder and Andrew Finlayson. There's some obsession.
I know the business has changed. I see it and view it everyday. I didn't just wake up and begin lamenting how much the present day model is so chock full of dreck and mismanagement and how so thoroughly awful once-great TV stations have turned into mush. I get it.
I also know that there's still a very dedicated staff over there in Oakland. Even as Fox Network takes over and all staff is understandably nervous and full of anxiety over inevitable changes and makeover, there existstoday a heady desire to churn out quality news content.
I have been overly critical of the KTVU News operation. I have delivered my share of hits and insults; granted, most of it, KTVU has provided ample ammunition, (Asiana, frequent graphics mistakes, etc); this is a shame too because by and large, even with all its mess-ups, Channel 2 is still tops in the market in my book.
Frank Somerville and Julie Haener remain on their game. Ken Wayne is top-notch and delivers a solid punch. Bill Martin and Sal Castaneda are proven veterans. Mark Ibanez is going strong after 34 years. KTVU still has game.
Where it hasn't had game of late has been its incredibly horrid news directors. Lee Rosenthal, The Boy Wonder, is gone, finally, thankfully. Special Ed is in the rear-view mirror, thank God. I don't know much about the new woman from Washington DC but she can't be any worse than her predecessor. Unfortunately, from what I've heard about the new GM, Brian Kelley, from Boston, is not good but I'll hold judgment for now. Time will tell. Tom Raponi, who I liked at first and was respected by most of the staff, never recovered from Asiana and took the bullet for Rosenthal. They're now gone. Good riddance.
KTVU will never be like the old KTVU --but it doesn't have to be like TV's version of WKRP in Cincinnati either.
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