off camera

September 2003

recall election tops news coverage “war and peace”
forum 9/24 kgo
Coverage of the Iraq war and of the anti-war protests here at home will be the topic of this month’s Television Academy seminar. The “War and Peace” forum is at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 24th at ABC-7, 900 Front Street, San Francisco. ADAM HOUSLEY of Fox News and the San Francisco Chronicle’s JOHN KOOPMAN will discuss their experiences as embedded reporters in Iraq. War coverage veterans REESE ERLICH and NORMAN SOLOMAN also will be on the panel. Also, several journalists who covered the peace marches will provide perspective on those demonstrations and on the activists’ attitudes toward the media. ABC-7 ANCHOR DAN ASHLEY will moderate. FREE to Academy members, $10 for nonmembers, refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to or (650) 341-7786.

Photo © KTVU FOX 2 Kenny Wardell

The recall election is making history in California and it’s making news at Northern California television stations. The October 7th referendum on Gray Davis’ performance has been a lead story almost daily through August and early September. It’s also creating a windfall of campaign ad revenue at a time when TV stations are looking for extra cash. “This is a highly unusual, historic development,” said KEVIN KEESHAN, news director at ABC-7 in San Francisco. Like other stations, ABC-7 has been going full throttle on the story since it became apparent this summer the recall initiative would qualify for the ballot. KGO has assigned several reporters to the story and hired a San Francisco State political science professor as an expert commentator. The station also has recruited 5,000 people from its website to participate in polls and focus groups. “The recall has energized a generation of

voters who may not have even been registered to vote,” said Keeshan. A block away, KPIX-TV is also hitting the story hard. The station’s political editor, HANK PLANTE, reports on the recall almost daily, as does night side reporter, ROZ PLATER. The CBS O&O uses its “Eyewitness Poll” to gauge voters’ reactions. The station’s weekend morning news also invited dozens of “minor” candidates with serious platforms to appear on its program. Several showed in August and four candidates are booked for September weekends. KPIX also teamed up with KCBS radio and the San Francisco Chronicle to add extra depth to its coverage. That strategy paid off th August 26Robert Mohr 2003 (415-647-6647) Photo © when Governor Davis attended a “town hall” meeting at KPIX studios sponsored by the media trio. An audience of 100 queried the governor while 34 reporters took notes. KPIX plans to air an hour-long specontinued on page 4 Off Camera, September 2003, page 1

emmy changes ?
There may be three “best newscast” categories at next year’s Emmy show. At its August meeting, the Northern California NATAS Board of Governors voted to recommend a “three-tier” structure for the next Emmy competition. The proposal must be approved by the Television Academy’s national awards committee. If OK’d, the newscast categories would be: • Large market (Bay Area and Sacramento) •Medium market (Fresno, Hawaii & Reno) •Small market (Salinas/Monterey, Chico/ Redding & Eureka) continued on page 2

emmy changes ?
continued from page 1 The “best newscast” would be the only category broken into tiers. Under national rules, the other categories must remain the same. Board members said the three tiers will provide sharper competition between Fresno, Hawaii and Reno in the middle market. They said it will also give smaller markets a better chance for a “best newscast” Emmy. The other big change is allowing commercials to enter for the first time. They must be between :05 and 2:00, no informercials or program-length commercials are allowed. There were minor changes to other rules and categories.

Several Bay Area professional organizations are hosting a discussion this month of new technology and its impact on the television industry. The three-hour “Emerging Technologies Forum” is Thursday, September 18th, at the Expression Center for New Media, 6601 Shellmound St., Emeryville. The evening begins at 6 with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a tour, with the discussion beginning at 7. The event is sponsored by American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), the National Association of Minorities in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable & Telecommunications. Topics will in-

tech forum this month
clude high-definition television, personal video recorders and “video on demand” technology. The moderator is MICHAELA PERIERA, co-host of TechTV’s “Tech Live.” On the panel are: JOSH BERNOFF of Forrester Research; SCOTT BINDER of SVO Operations; SUSAN CASHEN of TiVo Inc.; TRACI ECKELS of KQED; and JIM POWELL of NBC Entertainment. Tickets are $20 for members of the sponsoring organizations, $25 for non-members. Call (415) 561-9229 for more information.

NTA Board retreat lunch at the Casablanca Restaurant, on the Beach in Santa Cruz

The decision came at an all-day retreat for board members held August 16th in Santa Cruz. The board also welcomed new members, discussed a proposed $230,000 budget for the coming fiscal year, and laid out the next nine months of chapter activities.

Wednesday, October 15th from 7-9 p.m. at the Sony Metreon’s Action Theatre. This will be the first meeting of our New Media Committee. The gathering will focus on Broadband/VOD, with a panel of representatives from companies like TiVo,, iVast and others. KEVIN HAUSE, VP, Screen Digest will be the moderator. More information next month.

join the new media committee 10/15


inducation 10/25
The 2003 Class of the NATAS Silver Circle

will be inducted at a luncheon on Saturday, October 25, 2003 at the Radisson Miyako Hotel in San Francisco. Cocktails at 11:30 a.m., lunch at noon followed by the induction ceremony. The inductees names will be announced in next month’s “Off Camera.” Formal invitations will be sent in October. NTA governor, RON LOUIE is the Silver Circle committee chair.

The September 23 rd Broadcast Legends luncheon will salute “Creature Features.” Former hosts of the KTVU “Creature Feature” program BOB WILKINS and JOHN STANLEY will be on hand to show clips and tell stories. The luncheon will be held at the Bay Bridge Holiday Inn, Emeryville, 11:30 a.m. reception, 12 noon, lunch followed by the program.

creature features

foot in the door workshop 11/1
at KPIX-TV in San Francisco. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Co-sponsors are the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) and the Television Academy. NATPE co-founder LEW KLEIN will moderate. The program is free to Bay Area college telecommunications students, however, pre-registration will be required. Check your October Off Camera for further details and the names of panelists. Silver Circle member DICK BLOCK, Block Communications Group, is producting the event with the help of NTA board member PAT PATTON, Young Broadcasting/KRON..

NAPTE workshop at Loyola Marymount University, LEW KLEIN at the podium

Recent college graduates working in TV will reveal the secrets of how they ‘scored’ their jobs, at the upcoming career workshop. The seminar will be held on Saturday, November 1st, from 8am to 1:30 p.m. Off Camera, September2003, page 2

newscast premiers on kbhk
building in San Francisco. Under the new schedule, the news airs Saturday mornings from 7 to 8 on KPIX and from 8 to 9:30 on KBHK. On Sunday mornings, it’s on KPIX from 7:30 to 8:30 and on KBHK from 8:30 to 9:30. The new newscast is called “CBS 5 Eyewitness News on UPN 44.” SYDNIE KOHARA and RON JONES anchor both shows. The programs share the same field reporter and some news stories, but different guests and packages run on the KBHK show. There are still bugs to work out. On some Saturdays, the control room crew has only five seconds to switch stations. The KPIX shows have done well in the ratings, and advertising sales are healthy. It’s hoped the expanded newscast will do the same for KBHK, which is lagging in ad revenue this year

war correspondent cerre join sf bureau

The Bay Area’s UPN station finally has a newscast, even though it has no news department. KBHK (UPN 44) began broadcasting a weekend morning news show on September 6th. The program is actually an extension of the weekend morning newscast that KPIX (CBS 5) launched last January. Both stations are owned by Viacom and broadcast from the same Battery Street

An ABC News reporter who covered the war in Iraq has joined that network’s San Francisco bureau as a correspondent. MICHAEL CERRE will report for ABC News from his new location. Cerre was “embedded” with U.S Marines during the Iraq conflict. His combat experiences were the subject of an hour-long broadcast on ABC News’ “PrimeTime.”

KQED-TV has gone digital in a big way. In July, the San Francisco PBS station converted from an NTSC analog master control system to all digital. The new equipment allows KQED to cablecast five programs simultaneously, in addition to its broadcast NTSC and high-definition television signals. The station was quick to take advantage of its new technology. Last month KQED premiered five new cable channels, each with unique programming. The channels are available on Comcast digital cable. They are: • KQED HD (Comcast 188) offering a variety of high-definition (HDTV) and

offers five new digial changes in fresno channels
widescreen PBS programs; • KQED Encore (Comcast 189), featuring popular PBS primetime programs; • KQED World (Comcast 190), providing history, nature and science programming; • KQED Life (Comcast 191), showcasing arts, entertainment, food, gardening, travel and money management; and • KQED Kids (Comcast 192), airing programs for children.

“This is an incredible opportunity for KQED as a leader and innovator within public broadcasting and the Bay Area community,” said JEFF CLARKE, the station’s president.

It hasn’t taken long for KGPE-TV’s new boss to make her presence felt. In June, DIANA WILKIN-ZAPATA took over as the Fresno CBS affiliate’s VP/General Manager, replacing BARRY BARTH. Last month she fired news director TOM BURKE, in what could be the first of many changes. Wilkin-Zapata told the Fresno Bee she is determined to revamp Channel 47. The Clear Channel-owned station, formerly KJEO, has been mired in low ratings for years. It’s also undergone several ownership and management changes. But Wilkin-Zapata said viewers should begin to see marked improvement in KGPE’s news. JIM HOLLAND, from KAKE-TV in Wichita has just been named the new news director. He has also worked in Dallas, Syracuse, and Albany.

new faces at kgo
BOB GOLDBERGER has been named executive producer of the 11pm News for KGO-TV. Bob was the news director at KNTV in San Jose for three years. He also served as assistant news director at WBBH and WZVN in Ft. Meyers, FL. Bob has been an investigative reporter and capital correspondent for WBRZ, Baton Rouge, LA. DEBRA PREITKIN has been named topical promotion producer for KGO-TV. Debra held the same job at KGW in Portland, OR. She has worked at KGET, Bakersfield; KEYT, Santa Barbara; KOAT, Albuquerque; as well as KOMO and KING in Seattle Off Camera, September 2003, page 3

continued from page 1 cial on the issues and hopes to sponsor at least one live candidates’ debate. “It’s a huge story for us,” said KPIX news director DAN ROSENHEIM.

governor recall - the big story

KTVU in Oakland echoes the sentiment. As Off Camera goes to press the Fox affiliate is planning a September 3rd forum on the recall election co-sponsored with KQED-FM and the Contra Costa Times. The two-hour “Race to the Recall” will feature discussion of the recall issue with the top six gubernatorial candidates. The event is to be broadcast live on KTVU and on KXTV in Sacramento, and fed to other stations throughout the state. Spanish-language KDTV has been reporting on the recall for months. The San Francisco-based Univision O&O has set up a website and a telephone hotline for voters and viewers. Its on-going coverage includes profiles of the major candidates and their platforms. KDTV has also teamed up with KUVS in Sacramento, KFTV in Fresno and other California stations, to expand its reach. “Our news philosophy is to empower people through accurate and thorough information and to encourage them to participate in this important democratic process,” said ALBERTO LARIOS, KDTV executive producer.

Stations in the state capital, naturally, are focused on the recall as well. Besides airing the KTVU-sponsored forum, KXTV will broadcast a September 17th candidates’ debate at Sacramento State. The ABC affiliate has assigned a reporter to each major candidate, and they’re also doing “truth tests” on campaign ads. “Our philosophy is to treat this story as we would any other significant political process in the state,” said KXTV news director RON COMINGS. “While we have not devoted time to most of the 134 candidates, our mission is to take real issues to the significant candidates and get answers, instead of simply reacting to every campaign maneuver.” KTXL-40 in Sacramento is also providing daily coverage on the recall. The Fox affiliate planned to re-broadcast the KTVU forum from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. later that night . It also is teaming up with its sister stations in Los Angeles and San Diego for election night coverage. “We’ll provide detailed coverage of the election in these final weeks,” said KTXL news director STEVE KRAYCIK, “but we’re careful to not over saturate our newscast with it. There’s a danger in people getting ‘turned off’ because they feel they’re tired of seeing ‘all recall, all the time.’” But for other stations, there may not be any such thing as “too much recall.”

bavc scholarships
The San Francisco-based Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) is offering scholarships to help low income adults enhance their digital video production skills. The classes, which begin October 1st, will be taught on cutting edge production, post-production, and digital design equipment Qualified San Francisco residents can apply for “Digital Directions” scholarships to help pay for the courses. Applicants must agree to take 156 or 320 hours of training over a six to eight-month period. For more information, contact Samantha Wayne at (415) 558-2195, or you can download an application at

on-line documentary
KQED-TV has produced a five-part documentary on migration to California that’s available only on the internet. The series, called “i5,” was created by KQED Interactive. It examines the journeys of five recent arrivals to California. Each story is on a different web site. • “” is about a young Vietnamese woman who now lives in Orange County. • “” chronicles the experience of a Peruvian-born Chinese academic who came here from Canada. • “” details the life of an African-America MBA from New York who’s adapting to suburban San Diego. • “” is the tale of a Mexican farm worker’s wife living in Salinas. • “” is an adult-oriented site whose subject is a transgender Cuban refugee now living in San Francisco. The “i5” documentary was produced by JOSE MARQUEZ. The segment producers were BEN BENJAMIN, JAIME CORTEZ and ENRIQUE JIMENEZ.

The NorCal RTNDA board of directors is finalizing plans for the 22nd Annual NorCal RTNDA Convention and Awards. The event will take place the weekend of October 17-19. The location will be finalized this week. The program starts Friday evening with a reception followed by “A Foot in the Door,” how to get that first job and climb the market ladder. Saturday is a full day of seminars including: “From the Recall to the White House,” “Investigative Reporting,” “Tough Decisions,”

norcal rtnda convention & awards oct. 17-19

“Meet the General Managers,” “Talent Coaching,” “Visual Story Telling,” and “Anchors Away.” One-on-One tape critiques are offered to full time registrants; students attend at ½ prices and will have a group critique session. The awards banquet will be held Saturday evening with pre and post cocktail parties. A social activity is planned for Sunday.

Full information will be posted at or call 650-3419978. Off Camera, September 2003, page 4

cinema club cinema club sacramento new sacramento 9/20 place & time
The latest Sacramento Cinema offering drew a dozen viewers last month. The film, shown at the Regal Theater in the Natomas Mall, was “Seabiscuit.” To help beef up attendance, the movie has moved from Monday nights to weekends. This month “Open Range.” The movie is FREE to any NATAS member and a guest.

cinema club san francisco 9/8

9/26 bay area
Five local film organizations will present: “Media Mash: A Monstrous Bay Area Mediamakers Mixer.” The event will bring local video and filmmakers together for an informational networking event on Friday, September 26, 7:30-10:30 p.m. In addition to learning about the wide range of resources available to local independents, makers are invited to view new, locally produced work in a curated one-hour program that will repeat throughout the night. The evening also includes projections, DJ music, and door prizes, including free memberships from presenting organizations. Light refreshments and drinks (no-host, cash bar) will be served. The event takes place at Bay Area Video Coalition, 2727 Mariposa Street in San Francisco. Admission is $5; volunteer opportunities are available and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The presenting organizations include: The Association for Independent Video and Film; The Bay Area Film Alliance: Bay Area Video Coalition ; Bay Area Women in Film and Television; and the Film Arts Foundation. You may contact the individual organizations for more information. HARVEY PEKAR, the hilariously downtrodden Cleveland comic book artist, is the subject of AMERICAN SPLENDOR, titled after Pekar’s autobiographical series. Played by actor PAUL GIAMATTI, Pekar also appears as himself, giving the film a documentary feeling with many behind-thescenes on-set shots. Directors SHARI SPRINGER BERMAN and ROBERT PULCINI maintain this balance between the actors and the real-life characters—Pekar’s wife Joyce and coworker Toby also appear on set as themselves—while crafting a funny, difficult, heartwarming tale that encapsulates Pekar’s life, work, and uniquely bizarre perspectives. Drama & Animation: 1 hour, 40 minutes MPAA Rating: R for Language. Written by: SHARI SPRINGER BERMAN, BOB PULCINI, ROBERT PULCINI, HARVEY PEKAR & JOYCE BRABNER. Produced by: TED HOPE. The CINEMA CLUB is a FREE first run monthly screening (second Monday) for NATAS, DGA and AWRT members who may bring a guest. The private viewing is at the Delancey Street Screening Room, 600 The Embarcadero, San Francisco. Refreshments & Networking 7 p.m., movie 7:30 p.m. Seating limited to first 146 to arrive.

Western 2 hours, 15 minutes MPAA Rating: R for Violence. Starring: KEVIN COSTNER, ANNETTE BENING, ABRAHAM BENRUBI, ROBERT DUVALL & MICHAEL GAMBON. Directed by: KEVIN COSTNER. Screenwriters: CRAIG STORPER & LAURAN PAINE. Producers: JAKE EBERTS, KEVIN COSTNER, DAVID VALDES & CRAIG STORPER Following the day-to-day encounters of four cattle herders who roam the countryside without owning a particular piece of land, or “freegrazers” (Costner, Duvall, Luna, Benrubi), living in the final years of the Wild West, this film tells the story of how they eventually team up to rid a burgeoning remote town, Harmonville, from the machinations of a ruthlessly evil rancher, Baxter (Gambon), who forms a sort of “outlaw state” where he makes the laws and rules, and enforces them using scare tactics and brute force. Meet your NATAS representative in the lobby of the Regal Theatres @ Natomas Marketplace, 3561 Truxel Road, Sacramento (Off I80). Networking at noon, the film starts at 12:30 p.m. FREE to NATAS members who may bring a guest. Off Camera, September 2003, page 5

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for the latest information


the board of governors

something to ‘bragg’ about
There may be nothing obviously special about Fort Bragg, a community placed located along Highway One about midway between San Francisco and Eureka. But the Mendocino County town has something Willits, Ukiah, Leggett and Sea Ranch can’t boast – its own television station. Fort Bragg is the home of KFWU, Channel 8 to the locals. Since its “birth” in the early 1970’s it has been re-broadcasting the signal from the ABC station in Redding, KRCRTV. Before cable, that was quite a plus for the citizens of Fort Bragg. But eight years ago the station’s ownership changed and so did its programming. ABC (KGO-TV) was available on cable, so the new owners decided to re-broadcast the programming from another of its stations, KTNC, Channel 42 in Concord. That set off a storm of protest. Fort Bragg citizens, used to their own ABC affiliate, flooded the KFWU switchboard. There were even bomb threats. Eventually, the furor died down. KFWU now runs mostly Off Camera, September 2003, page 6 paid programming, plus Hispanic TV shows from KTNC, the Concord Azteca station. The station has only one employee. ROBBIE ROBINSON, a former news anchor there, now is KFWU’s office manager. Since Ft. Bragg is officially part of the Bay Area’s demographic area, it’s in the country’s number five market, believe it or not, instead of the 190th market occupied by Eureka.


national trustees: governors:


committee chairs exective director


(415) 777-0212 (650) 341-7786 4317 Camden Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403-5007 fax: (650) 372-0279 e-mail: website:

coming events coming events coming events coming events coming events Sep. 8th Cinema Club, “American Splendor,” San Francisco Sep. 20th Cinema Club, “Open Range,” Sacramento Sep. 24th “War and Peace Forum,” KGO-TV Oct/ 15th “New Media Event, Sony Metreon Oct. 25th “The Silver Circle, Miyako Hotel Nov. 1st “Career Workshop, KPIX-TV

Send us your stories; “Off Camera” is always looking for news of our industry to share with our members, especially from markets outside the Bay Area. E-mail us at: Add us to your PR mailing list: Off Camera 4317 Camden Avenue San Mateo, CA 94403-5007 The editorial deadline is the 22nn of each month..

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