Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Veronica De La Cruz Makes Impressive Debut on KPIX; Ousted, (Sort Of), Sklenar Made For Perfect KGO/Cumulus Scapegoat; Wednesday Opener

 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.

*Follow me on Twitter


  1. First day on the job stress and adjustments are out of the way, and hopefully her personal issues are being resolved. Will be interesting to see how this works out after she (and the "dust") settles in the coming weeks. Good Luck, Veronica!

  2. Why wasn't Ken Bastida there for her first day?

    1. People take these things called vacations every now and then. Maybe he took one and who cares if he wasn't there. He wasn't there Monday either.

  3. Ms. De La Cruz is a 180 degree turnaround from Elizabeth Cook, and she's a "pro!"

  4. She needs to dress more professionally.

  5. Saw her tonight. Her lilt is a little sing-songy. Will either get used to it or it will bother the shit out of me over time.

  6. For a station you supposedly stopped listening to long ago, you sure mention KFOG a lot in this blog. And in the last few months you've mentioned they may be changing formats 3 or 4 times. I guess you figure that if you keep saying they're about to change format, one of these times you might be right.

  7. I would think an FM KGO would be more important than a satellite fed NASH covering two bay area stations and city's -- three if you count a simulcast on KFGG-FM.

    KGO has LONG missed the boat by being FM-unabled to counter 55+ to death demographics. It works, obviously, for KQED-FM and KCBS / KFRC-FM together.
    I'd voite for a KGO-FM.

    What to do with NASH potential in SF? Nothing. Been there done that with country before and that idea sank. Fix the failing flagship first, then "experiement." If it were to fail again as country in San Francisco, Cumulus might as well toss in the towel.

    Thoughts / opinions?

    Also, hearing rumors that Clear Channel wants to sunset Rush Limbaugh's show from it's station all over the country. Interesting, since Clear Channel, through its Premier Networks division, owns the Rush Lim-pole goings on. Is it because of El Rushbo and the non-recovered flight of sponsors as a way for Clear Channel to make much needed debt service money for placing the show on other stations? Many, incidentally, that still pay BIG affiliate $$$ monthly to Clear Channel for the right to air the program on a long term basis. CC is $20-billion in debt with big payments do next year. As a sales vehicle, has Rush lost his luster prior to new contract time?.

  8. It is the girl next door and the vamp who get's any guy she wants. Why not get rid of that turkey Allen Martin and pair Elizabeth and Veronica??? I would certainly be watching.

  9. Whose the 'basketball player' she's talking to?

    1. Paul "Too Tall" Deanno.

  10. Veronica De La Cruz does indeed appear to be relaxed and professional. Based on a first impression, she should be a good fit at 5 and with Bay Area viewers. It will be interesting to see what the station does with her at 10 PM. Apparently, they have big plans. Otherwise, they would not waste a major new hire on what, up until now, has been an offhand attempt to glean viewers in the most inexpensive way possible. The duopoly's 10 PM show has a pretty decent lead-in of (relatively) younger viewers. That group evaporates as soon as the news comes on. If PIX can figure out how to keep them watching... or, perhaps, consuming content online (without the marketing department bloat that gives page views at the expense of user satisfaction and time spent viewing)... then not only with the station have a successful newscast, but it could also be a model for every other station trying to solve the problem of an aging viewership. One step at a time, though.

  11. She does a nice job, but was wondering where she found that '70s peek-a-boo outfit the first evening..... can't say her wardrobe has improved much since.