You probably know by now that KGO-TV (ABC7) veteran news reader, Cheryl Jennings, is leaving the anchor desk. She says she wants to pursue "more of my long-term, in-depth stories."
And if you believe that, I have some nice oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you.
The gullible Chronicle and Leah Garchick bought it.
The real story? Jennings has been on cruise control the past few years. She's only stayed at KGO because she's been there since cavemen were existent.
Jennings has seniority and she's a woman. So she wasn't thrown out of 900 Front. She was merely told by ABC that she wasn't going to be anchoring anymore but if she wanted to stay (for a lot less money) she was welcome to stick around in her twilight years and do her Sunday work and occasional "in-depth" reports.
Apparently, Jennings chose the ABC directive. She's lucky: I actually thought she was history a long time ago but her bosses had a change of heart. It wouldn't look good to throw a late 60's woman out the door.
Bottom line is Jennings got the heave-ho. That's the story in a nutshell --Jennings can spin it all she wants and has Leah Garchik to spread the falsities --but Disney (which owns KGO) is quite known for lowering the boom on high-paid air talent who've reached the end.
*MEANWHILE --Jennings' fate wasn't the biggest news at KGO Tuesday---apparently the mood inside the building wasn't too peachy--why?
Veteran 6 PM producer, Bill Green, is retiring and management wanted to throw a party for him.
Sounds reasonable only the staff was caught off-guard by the News Director.
From my KGO-TV spy (and backed up by a local station source) we have this item: According to the spy, ND, Tracey Watkowski, is strong-arming the staff into paying for a going away party for the respected producer who is leaving.
The producer of the dominant 6 o'clock News is retiring after decades with the company and Trixie is 'suggesting' newsroom employees 'give' a set amount. The staff knows that means pay up or else.
Furthermore, what is really ticking off the staff? Seems Watkowski just returned from an out of town get away and it is widely believed she took her newsroom union Boy Toy and billed the station for her out of state soirée!
*Don't expect any immediate changes at Cumulus-owned stations in the city. Or, more to the point, any noticeable changes you can hear on the air. The new boss will take inventory and that takes time. She's got a lot on her plate.
Locally, there are impending issues like KGO Radio's imminent switch to a less news--more talk hybrid format. Looks more and more likely that the Afternoon News will be discarded in place of talk.
Then there's Ronn Owens. I'm already hearing that Owens is done at the end of the year--he'll turn 70 later this fall and come November will have spent 40 years at KGO. Owens finally has his Radio Hall of Fame trophy and seems destined for retirement --we'll talk more about that later in the coming weeks.
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