KGO's President and GM, Bill Burton, I've told you here, appears to be on a missive to bring forward younger anchors who are extremely adept in social media functions --how much so? To the point, according to a KGO informant, that "the 'social media element is almost more important than their actual job.'"
Really now? I asked the source to embellish: "Burton seems to have got a directive (from Disney, which owns KGO) to hire more "LA-type" of talent--that 'KTLA type of look and style." Double really? "He thinks social media and those (young) anchors that embrace it are important for Channel 7."
I don't know for sure whether Burton is working on orders from Disney but I do know that whomever is pushing this new emphasis it most certainly does not involve News Director, Tracey Watkowski, who had little if any say in the Zouves and Aqui transactions. That extra caveat might be a potential problem for Burton who might be usurping Watkowski's power. Watkowski isn't the most popular manager in the building but Burton's actions have many staffers angry, disappointed, and disillusioned.
Zouves, who will start her weekend anchoring here Sept. 8, was named "San Diego's 'hottest TV News 'girl in 2014." And Aqui, a Portland anchor and former CNN news reader, has the distinction of being one of "People Magazine's 'hottest TV anchors." This is not earth-shattering news that a GM in a big market would want to bring a couple of perceived lightweight anchors to the city but it's not a typical Burton move and is interpreted by staff as an affront to the relative peace and tranquility at 900 Front.
Burton's moves come at a time when KGO is at or near the top of the SF TV ratings --Circle7 dominates the numbers at 11 PM and is neck and neck #1 in the early evening news. Furthermore, KGO is tops during the weekend ratings which can only add further mystery to the Zouves/Aqui hires. If it ain't broke don't fix it, right?
One thing is certain: Disney is known for being cheap. I'm told KGO practically had to beg to hire for the position Zouves ultimately accepted. Several suitors turned it down because of the lack of money. I don't know what Aqui, who will anchor and report in the field, gets but I'd bet it's much more than Zouves.
Meanwhile, in Portland at least, Aqui's exit has a lot of people bummed. Not so much in San Francisco.
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