November 2003

off camera

tv industry remembers faith

CORRALL-KENDALL. The honesty, candor and warmth in the series produced hundreds of letter and calls from women and men. The series was re-broadcast as a halfhour special in October 1998. Fancher also founded an organization of media professionals, “Friends of Faith.” The group has raised $750,000 for programs to help low-income women with breast cancer. Fancher once said she went public with her story to help others. “In my career, I’ve asked people to share with me their life stories at the most difficult times in their lives, but now it’s my turn to share with them,” she said. “It would be wrong not to speak out. I have a responsibility.” At her funeral on Oct. 22, colleagues, friends and family members spoke of Fancher’s bravery and honesty. “I once told her that she wouldn’t die because only the good die young and she wasn’t that good,” said Corrall-Kendall that night. “But, guess what, Faith, you were that good.”
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silver circle class of 2003

© Robert Mohr 2003 (415-647-6647)

She accomplished more in her 53 years than most people would accomplish if they lived to be 103. Former KTVU reporter FAITH FANCHER, who chronicled and broadcasted her battle with breast cancer, died Oct. 19 at her home in Oakland, surrounded by family and friends. Fancher was diagnosed with the disease more than six years ago. Her struggle was told in a 3-part series in May 1997, reported by former KTVU anchor ELAINE

With humor, nostalgia and remembrance, nine Northern California television professionals were inducted last month into The Television Academy’s Silver Circle Class of 2003. The honorees included six t-v industry employees from the Bay Area and three from Sacramento. The ceremony was held at the Radisson Miyako Hotel in San Francisco on Saturday, Oct. 25. “This annual luncheon is the time we pay tribute to those who not only have survived at least 25 years in the television industry,” said chapter president DAVID MILLS in his opening remarks, “but have made significant contributions to our profession. They have paved the way. They have made it easier for those of us who followed.” Silver Circle chairman RON LOUIE presented a tribute to KTVU reporter FAITH FANCHER, who died Oct. 19, before introducing the ceremony’s host, YSABEL DURON of KRON. The first new Silver Circle member to be introduced was KGO meterologist JOEL BARLETT. Bartlett pretended to receive a
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Journalists who covered the Iraq war and those who followed the peace protests here will talk about their experiences at a NATAS seminar this month. The “War and Peace” forum will begin at 7 pm on Wednesday, November 12th, at the ABC-7 studios, 900 Front St., San Francisco. It will be hosted by KGO-TV anchor DAN ASHLEY.

war & peace forum wed. nov. 12th

traveling with soldiers as they swept toward Baghdad in April. Also participating will be KPIX reporter MANUEL RAMOS, who will compare the 2003 anti-war protests with demonstrations of previous years. Rounding out the panel will be REESE ERLICH, a 35-year journalism veteran and producer of the one-hour 2001 public radio documentary, “The Struggle for Iran;” and NORMAN SOLOMON, a nationally syndicated media and politics columnist . The event is FREE. Off Camera, November 2003, page 1

ADAM HOUSLEY of Fox News network and JOHN KOOPMAN of the San Francisco Chronicle will be among the panelists. Both reporters covered the Iraq war,

the silver circle, class of 2003
continued from page 1

phone call on his cell phone from President Bush during his acceptance speech. He also talked about the time he was suspended from one newscast at KPIX in the early 1980s for saying “piss and vinegar” on the air. Former Evening Magazine host JAN YANEHIRO was next. She was introduced by former co-host STEVE FOX, who said he has never worked harder or had more fun than the first year Evening Magazine was on the air. Yanehiro said she continues to champion the causes of female television journalists. She also said she still enjoys working in the broadcast industry. “The only reason we continue in this business is because we love it. And every day I love it,” she said. W h e n Yanehiro returned to her seat, Duron quipped: “There she goes, being all positive and perky again.” Former NATAS board member GAYLE YAMADA introduced her husband DAVID HOSLEY by telling stories of the many people that David has helped mentor in our industry. She said that their best production was their 13 year old daughter Heather. David got his first job in San Francisco at KCBS radio, making coffee for DAVE McELHATTON, “and Dave drank a lot of coffee. “ He now enjoys being involved in community service in the Sacramento area.

Photos © Robert Mohr 2003 (415-647-6647)

Retired KGO-TV photographer FRED PARDINI said that fellow photographer AL BULLOCK helped him transition from still press photographer to film and video. “Everybody in this business knows Al, there are eight million stories in this town, and Al Bullock has covered every one of them, TWICE.” Former chapter president and administrator DICK ROBERTSON said that when City College of San Francisco broadcasting faculty and former KPIX and KGO editor JOHN ODELL was president of the TV Academy and was introducing “The Silver Circle, ” John couldn’t say “Silver Circle.” He did on Saturday. John said that the real honor was to work with such an incredible group of people in this industry. KTVU news director, ED CHAPUS introduced his former anchors at KCRA, DAVE WALKER and LOIS HART. He said that the TV Academy was partly responsible for Dave proposing to Lois. It was an Emmy night that Dave was nominated but didn’t win, he had a little too much to drink, and ended up proposing to Lois. She said yes and they have been married for 25 years. Off Camera, November 2003, page 2

Former KNBR radio community service manager JANE MORRISON has trained over 600 interns; her prize intern was KGO ABC 7 anchor CHERYL JENNINGS. Former KSFO news director, CHET CASSELMAN said that Cheryl talks to viewers instead of reading to them. Cheryl remarked seeing R U S S COUGHLIN in the clips and what an inspiration he was to all of us. She was praised for her community service work. It took two friends to introduce KTVU consumer editor TOM VACAR, KGO anchor DON SANCHEZ and KTVU anchor LESLIE GRIFFITH. Don said that Tom “never falters when somebody asks for his help. His kindness, his generosity, and his creativity in helping, that has made a better lfe for others with out ever expecting anything else in return.” Tom recounted all the Silver Circle members that he has had the privilege of working with. Meredith Broadcasting president and former KTVU general manager KEVIN O’BRIEN was on hand to congratulate Tom.

The memorable thing about this year’s Silver Circle class of 2003 was the inter-weaving of their stories and lives. Applications are now being accepted for next years class.

KTVU won early, ABC-7 dominated the middle while KPIX finished strong late for the second month in a row. That‘s the story of the October Nielsen ratings in the Bay Area as newsrooms prepare for the critical November sweeps period. KPIX again took the hotly contested 11 pm #1 news title. The SF CBS O&O got a 5.0 rating (11 share) for its bedtime show, followed closely by ABC-7 with a 4.7 (11). NBC-11 was third with a 4.5 (10) and KRON was fourth with a “no net lead-in” 2.2 (5).

stations gear up for november book sandstrom joins ktvu weather team
got a 2.7 (11) while KRON’s 11:30 am show was fourth with a 1.2 (5). ABC-7 also dominated the early evening. It smothered the competition at 5 with a 5.7 (14). KPIX was distant second with a 2.8 (6), followed by KRON (2.7/6) and NBC-11 (2.0/5). The 6 pm news hour was a little more competitive, but ABC-7 came out on top again with a 4.8 (10) rating. Second place went to KPIX’s 6:30 pm newscast (3.7/7). In third was KTVU (2.6/6), followed by NBC-11 (2.4/5) and KRON (2.2/4). On weekends, KPIX’s 6:30 pm newscast won its time slot for both Saturday and Sunday. In the morning, KRON dominated the 8 am slot both days while KPIX won the 7 am time period on Sunday and NBC-11 won the 7 am on Saturday. KTVU’s 10 pm newscast dominated weekend evenings. Stay tuned for the November ratings, which run from Sunday, October 30th to Wednesday, November 26th.

KTVU has hired meteorologist J U L I A SANDSTROM as its weekend weathercaster. Sandstrom began in mid-October at the Cox-owned Fox affiliate in Oakland. She previously did weather for NBC affiliate KING-TV in Seattle. Besides KTVU’s Saturday and Sunday newscasts, Sandstrom will fill in for meteorologists BILL MARTIN and STEVE PAULSON during the week.

None of those numbers came close to KTVU’s “10 O’clock News.” It scored a 6.7 (12) in October. And KTVU won the early morning race again. The Oakland-based Fox affiliate scored a 2.6 (15) at 6 am. Runnerups were ABC-7 (2.2/13), NBC-11 (1.8/10), KRON (1.7/10) and KPIX (1.0/6). ABC-7 won midday. Its 11 am newscast earned a 3.4 (14). It was trailed by KPIX, which climbed back into second place with 2.8 (11) for its noon newscast. KTVU’s noon

kitv anchor honored
The Hawaii Audubon Society has named KITV 4 news anchor GARY SPRINKLE its Journalist of the Year. Audubon officials honored Sprinkle for his coverage of environmental, conservation and wildlife issues. Sprinkle’s series, “Pacific Adventures,” is now part of Hawaii’s Department of Education curriculum. Sprinkle, who has been with KITV since 1991, won his third Emmy last year, for “Pacific Adventures.” He is married to the TV Academy’s Hawaii vice president, PAMELA YOUNG.

holiday showcase set for dec 11th
The holiday season is rapidly approaching! Eat, drink, watch masterpieces and win prizes! The National Television Academy is teaming up with the Bay Area Women in Film and Television (BAWIFT) and the University of California, San Francisco to throw a huge holiday party and screening showcase on Thursday, December 11th from 7-9:30 p.m. at USCF’s magnificent Cole Hall Auditorium, UCSF Medical Sciences Building, 513 Parnassus Avenue (nearest cross street 3rd Avenue), San Francisco, CA 94143. We are seeking producers, directors, shooters, editors and everyone else to bring their latest completed work or work in progress to be shown on Cole Hall’s huge screen projection system. Accepted formats are miniDV, VHS and DVD. Each presenter will show up to a five-minute clip from their work and then have a 5 minute Q&A session with the audience. This is a great way to see what is really going on locally! To sign up to be a presenter, please email: if you are a student or NATAS member with your name, the name of your work to be presented and the format you’ll be using. And if you are a BAWIFT member, please RSVP with the same information to: . The deadline for this is Dec. 4th. The first 10 to RSVP (first 5 to Darryl and first 5 to Liza) will be locked in. If riding MUNI to the event, the 43 and 6 buses bring you practically to our front door. Or you can park in the UCSF Public Parking Garage for only $1, with a ticket validated at Cole Hall Cinema. You must enter the garage after 4:45 pm, and have ticket validated at Cole Hall Cinema, we will have the validation machine right there! Admission is free for UCSF students and members of NATAS and BAWIFT, please register on-line at Off Camera, November 2003, page 3


Video on demand, broadband and new tech-

advanced media committee
By Cynthia Zeiden Photos © Robert Mohr 2003 (415-647-6647)

nology were the prime topics of the first official event of the Advanced Media Committee. It was held on Oct. 15 at the Sony Metreon in San Francisco. The moderator, BILL NIEMEYER, chairman of the Information and Research Committee for DIMA Group, explained some basics of broadband and video on demand. The presentation, “New Opportunities to Get Video to Consumers,” included broadband internet, video on demand, digital video recorder and hybrid environments, such as using home networks to link tv’s, personal computers and media centers to cable, direct broadcast satellite and broadband media. Niemeyer also noted there are 107 million tv households in the United States. Of those, 72 million have cable and 21 million have digital cable. In addition, 39 million Americans access the internet via broadband and 35 percent of internet users use broadband access. Of these, two-thirds use cable modems and one-third use a designated second line. In the world of cable-delivered “video on demand,” Niemeyer said there will be a 12 million to 15 million household growth rate in most major markets before the end of next year. It is being fully rolled out in Philadelphia where Comcast is offering free “video on demand” services. Niemeyer also talked about hybrid services that deliver video via multiple paths through multiple devices. These include media center personal computers that connect directly. to cable lines. ANDY SHELDON of Microsoft TV talked about a new product — Microsoft TV Foundation Edition for video on demand that uses existing platforms. Comcast want, when they want.

kpix wins big, kron’s knapp honored
KPIX-TV walked away with an armload of trophies this fall in three contests. The Radio/Television New Directors’ Association gave the San Francisco CBS O&O its 2003 Unity Award for large markets for the series, “Muslims in America.” The Unity awards honor coverage of racial and ethnic issues. In the separate RTNDA Northern California awards competition, KPIX won the “best breaking news” category for its coverage of the riots in Oakland that followed January’s Superbowl. The station also won the “best war coverage” category for its perspective pieces on the Iraq war. Channel Five also picked up RTNDA’s “best investigative reporting” award for a series of reports on airport security. The best sports segment award also went to KPIX, for its story on football coach Charlie Wedemeyer. Weathercaster SAMANTHA MOHR won “best weather segment,” and reporter MIKE SUGERMAN won the “best news writing.” category. For a complete list of NorCal RTNDA winners go to KPIX also was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists. The station’s investigative team won the broadcast category for in-depth reporting for its airport security stories. KPIX reporter BILL SCHECHNER won in “feature writing,” for a series of human interest stories. The SPJ also presented KRON reporter DON KNAPP with a major honor — its Career Achievement Award for “decades of steadfast, exceptional general assignment reporting.”

will use Microsoft’s Foundation system to deliver video on demand within two months. JOSH NEWMAN, vice president of marketing and strategic relationships for RealNetworks, discussed the pioneering efforts by his company to use the internet for video on demand. In 1995, RealNetworks delivered the first live internet broadcasts. They offer a condensed version of games, which strip off the “dead time” in the contests and only show the active parts of the games. YANGBIN WANG, chief executive officer for Niche TV, said video on demand is the “holy grail.” Users can watch what they

Each panelist also demonstrated the features of their systems. A big surprise of the evening was TiVo donating a TiVo box as a giveaway prize through our special guests, the leadership of the Interactive Television Alliance (ITA). It was given away in a business card drawing and the lucky winner was LYNN FRIEDMAN of KGO-TV in San Francisco. The next Advanced Media Event will be the 3rd Annual San Francisco HD Seminar on Thursday, Jan. 29. It will be located at Film Arts Foundation, 145 Ninth St., SF. Off Camera, November 2003, page 4

Over a quarter century ago, three Sacramento television newsmen informally gathered at a local watering hole one night after anchoring their respective 11pm newscasts.

in a market long, long ago... faith fancher
idea for newsies from all stations to get together on a regular basis. And so, the Midnight Press Club was born. Through the years, this monthly late-night gathering has taken on numerous forms under various names at many different venues, but it’s a Sacramento TV tradition that continues to this day. Over the past several years, our “Media Nights” usually fall on the first Thursday of every month. And the attendees run the gamet of TV types — producers, photographers, editors, engineers, anchors, reporters, writers, artists, technicians.. even managers occasionally drop by! With so many new restaurants and night spots in Sacramento, we try to move it around as much as possible, yet still maintain that casual late-night camaraderie that allows TV folk from all around town to meet new colleagues, see old friends, or just share an anecdote or two over a bite to eat and a beverage to drink.

STAN ATKINSON from KCRA, KOVR’s DAVE WALKER and JAY SCOTT from KXTV, met up at the capital city’s legendary Torch Club, an charming, old, dingy dive that catered to everyone... journalists and junkies... politicians and pundits... cops and cronies and even crooks. Jerry Brown and B.T. Collins were frequent patrons and the juke box spanned the musical spectrum, from classical to country to funk to folk. But above all, the atmosphere catered to conviviality.. and Stan, Dave and Jay enjoyed it so much they thought it might be a great

Fancher was born in Franklin, Tennessee. She was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science degree. She began her broadcasting career as the first African-American female reporter at WBR in Tennessee. She also worked at WSM-TV, the National Black Network, NPR and CNN before joining KTVU in Oakland in 1983. At the 2000 Emmy Awards show, Fancher was honored for her stories and community service in the fight against cancer. That evening, she raised a clenched fist above her head and proudly proclaimed, “I am a survivor!” “She was upbeat, bubbly and full of life,” KPIX anchor BARBARA RODGERS told Off Camera. “She was that way before she got cancer and she was even more that way after she was diagnosed.” Faith married WILLIAM DRUMMOND, professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley in 1982. The couple met in 1979, in Washington D.C. while both were working at National Public Radio. Another example of how Faith brought people together was on the day of her memorial service. Knowing that everyone at KTVU would want to go to the church to pay their respects, both KNTV and KGO volunteered early to supply the “pool camera” that would cover the service and provide us with a tape that we would be able to use in our newscasts later that day. Almost every television and many radio stations in the Bay Area aired a tribute to Faith last week. The Chronicle, Mercury News, Oakland Tribune/ ANG, and the Contra Costa Times also ran great write-ups. On behalf of Faith’s family and all of us at KTVU, thank you.

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national emmys given out
A Missouri PBS station, the Houston United Way, and the MTV network were winners of national Emmys last month. The Local PSA Emmy was awarded for a United Way campaign, called “One Houston United,” that raised money to aid flood victims. The awards were presented by The National Television Academy on October 23rd in New York City.

The Community Service Emmy Award went to PBS/ Banyan Communications of St. Charles, Missouri, for a program encouraging organ donation, called “No Greater Love.” There were ten finalists in this category, including KTVU’s “Great Toy Test” and KRON’s “Beating the Odds.” The National PSA Emmy went to Public Interest Productions and MTV for a safe sex campaign called “MTV Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself -- Excuses: Roller Coaster, Shark.”

station unity

Deadline for entries, voter registration and membership for the National Daytime Emmy Awards is Friday, December 5th. If you work on national daytime programming you may contact the Academy Office for forms. Off Camera, Noember 2003, page 5

daytime emmy awards deadline

recall brings in tv ad revenue who’s first?
caught somewhat off-balance. Some were shaken not only by the election surprise, but by overblown expectations. “The majority thought spending would be healthier,” says KTXL Sales Manager MIKE ARMSTRONG. It was California’s version of “Total Recall” and broadcast sales executives say Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered a blockbuster performance. Filings from the Secretary of State’s office show Governor-elect ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER’S campaign bought more than $5 million in TV and cable ads across the state during the recall election. Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamonte also paid a similar price. State Senator Tom McClintock gave stations more than $1 million. And, Governor Gray Davis dealt out more than $5 million trying to keep his job. “It was a very good thing,” says KRON General Sales Manager KAREN OROFINO. “What it did was boost an otherwise soft third quarter. It was very unexpected.” “It was more than expected,” echoed KFSN Sales Manager MARTI WARD. But it wasn’t just easy money. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, Ward says the main issue everyone in her Fresno market had was the rushed timetable. “It would’ve been nice to know further out,” she said. “And, when they tried to postpone the election, it threw everyone up in the air.” Indeed, sales managers seemed to be At the beginning of the election process, advertising analysts were predicting $100 million in California broadcasting ad buys. The reality fell far short. And, unlike many stations across the state, Armstrong says his Sacramento Fox affiliate had a conservative estimate of what it might make. “We had hoped we would be wrong, but it turned out to be true,” he said. Some believe the revenue boost was blown by the excessive local coverage. And, the national overage of this statewide race was also unprecedented. From Aug. 1 to Sept. 25, the Associated Press says nightly newscasts on NBC, ABC and CBS devoted 127 minutes to the California election. National Democratic presidential contenders only received 36 minutes. “Maybe the amount of ‘free coverage’ affected sales,” Armstrong says. “But it’s hard to know for certain.” It was unusual business for California broadcasters. “The nature of the recall was quite unique,” Armstrong says. “You couldn’t count on business as usual.” But in the end, stations couldn’t have scripted a happier ending to this political and financial thriller.
By Keith Sanders

The SF/NorCal chapter of the Television Academy has experienced its share of historic TV “firsts,” some better known than others. Did you know that PHILO TAYLOR FARNSWORTH (1906 - 1971) was the first to patent the television system we use today? A plaque at his Green Street laboratory in San Francisco states “The 21-yearold inventor and several dedicated assistants successfully transmitted the first all-electronic television image, a major breakthrough that brought the practical form of this invention to mankind.” Next month, the Academy will begin reporting on various local “firsts” dealing with television professionals, programs and technology. These articles will give some historical context to the “the first time” theme of our 2004 Emmy show. If you know of any television “firsts” in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Fresno, Reno and Hawaii, please send them in to We can’t promise all “firsts” will be published, but we’ll include as many as possible. Please include photos if available.

president road trips
The president of the Television Academy’s Northern California chapter will be visiting newsrooms in Sacramento and Fresno this month. DAVID MILLS plans to be in Sacramento November 6th and 7th, and in Fresno on the 20 th and 21 st . During the Thursday-Friday trips, Mills will urge television industry professionals to join the Television Academy, encourage them to enter the upcoming Emmy competition, and answer questions about the Academy and the awards process. Mills also plans to visit Sacramento again in December, with stops in Reno and Salinas.

kcra’s alston

rigo party
The retirement party for KGO’s South Bay reporter RIGO CHACON is Friday, Nov. 7th at 7p.m. in the Fairmont Hotel’s new Summit Center 44 S. th 4 Street, San Jose. The cost is $25/per person contact or Off Camera, November 2003, page 6

KCRA weekend anchor JOHN ALSTON, hired 13 months ago, has been promoted to co-anchor the 6 p.m. news on Channel 3 and the 10 p.m. news on KCRA’s sister station, Channel 58 (KQCA) with SARAH GARDNER. Alston replaces KELLY BROTHERS, who moved to KFBK-AM.

hollywood north-sacramento
By George Franco

With Arnold Schwarzenegger coming to town to take the reins of California government, Sacramento might soon emerge as Hollywood North. In no time, “Arnold sightings” will send tourists into tizzies at the dome building. “Governator” appearances may bring more cha-ching to cash registers in Old Town, but not far away the true Hollywood North is emerging. Less than three years ago, McClellan Air Force Base sent away the soldiers and joined the era of base conversion. McClellan Business Park was born. The latest addition is Longboard Studios. The military may be gone, but the giant hangers are still there. And what better way to utilize the gigantic space than Hollywood North. Longboard Studios has one of the five biggest sound stages in California. If you’ve ever toured any studios in Southern California you’ll quickly see the similarities in the stages there and at Longboard Studios.

Never mind flying to Sacramento International, why not zip in from LA to the private landing field at McClellan. President Clinton landed here on Air Force One shortly before the base closed. There is also three thousand acres of back lot area, perfect for outside shoots. The Sierra is nearby, the capitol is right around the corner, and San Francisco is a short drive away. Longboard Studios is poised at the right time at the right place, as Hollywood Studios find the cost of production at home continues to skyrocket. Owner ERNIE CABRAL, a veteran comedian who’s shared the stage with the likes of Frankie Avalon and the Beach Boys, says Longboard Studios is in the midst of several TV productions. Included is Celebrity Poker. As the name implies, celebs get “poker faced” in the latest addition to the reality TV genre out of Las Vegas. We’re told the likes of Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have OK’d their involvement. At least two movies are slated for production in the next year at Longboard Studios. Good news for independents longing to stretch the filmmaking comet trail from Hollywood to Hollywood North. NATAS will tour Longboard Studios and get the inside scoop on Hollywood North on Saturday, Jan. 11th, starting at noon. Please RSVP

san francisco 11/10

cinema club

vacar toy test turns 24
© KTVU Kenny Wardell

Drama 1 hr. 30 min. Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage) is a man trying to live life on his own terms. Looking only to be left alone, he takes up residence in an rural town’s old train depot. But much like the station agents that occupied small town depots before him, he finds himself reluctantly becoming enmeshed in the lives of his neighbors, especially Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a forty-year old artist struggling with the break up of her marriage, and Joe (Bobby Cannavale) a thirty-year-old with a talent for cooking and an insatiable hunger for conversation - whether anyone wants to talk to him or not. MPAA Rating: R for language and some drug content. Starring: PETER DINKLAGE, PATRICIA CLARKSON, BOBBY CANNAVALE, MICHELLE WILLIAMS, PAUL BENJAMIN Directed by: TOM MCCARTHY, THOMAS MCCARTHY Produced by: ROBERT MAY, MARY JANE SKALSKI, KATHRYN TUCKER 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.

and Producer SHARON NAVRATIL placed a set of more than 100 toys in more than 100 schools and daycare centers across the United States. The children and their teachers in each city determine the results. Each toy is graded on a variety of important consumer considerations including quality, durability, learning value, safety and fun. The children play with the toys for a period of three to four weeks to provide adequate time to evaluate them. Vacar takes an average from the score sheets submitted to arrive at a final score in each toy category. This year more than 50 television stations nationwide will be airing “The Toy Test.” Off Camera, November 2003, page 7

For the twenty-fourth consecutive year, KTVU Consumer Editor TOM VACAR is conducting “The Great American Toy Test,” the largest media toy test in the nation. The results will air on KTVU FOX 2 during a halfhour television special on Saturday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. and again on Sunday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. This year, Vacar


the board of governors

national trustees: governors:


live on the b b c
By David Mills, KPIX CBS 5, producer

So, there I am in London last month, walking through the theatre district of this awesome city. Just killing a couple hours until my wife, daughter and I go see “The Rat Pack: Live in Las Vegas” at the Strand Theatre. Near Picadilly Circus, a long line of aluminum barricades surrounds a movie theater. Uniformed “bobbies” are everywhere. What’s up? Well, this self-respecting — that is — nosy TV journalist is going to find out. It’s the London premiere of “In the Cut,” answers a constable. The movie’s star, Meg Ryan, will be here in a half-hour or so. Really? What a great opportunity to waste an hour. I find a good place near the theater entrance and lean my elbows on the barricade. I’m joined by a woman from Sweden in her late 20’s and her mother (the one closer to my age). We talk. Yes, ladies, Arnold really is going to be our next governor. In front of the theatre, a BBC reporter begins a series of live shots for the 6pm news hour. Watch this, I tell the young Swedish woman, I’m going to get us on the telly. I’m met with a doubtful look. Skeptical Swedes. I motion Off Camera, November 2003, page 8

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 Nov. 7th Rigo Chacon retirement party, Fiarmont, San Jose Nob. 10th Cinema Club, “The Station Agent” San Francisco Nov. 12th “War and Peace Forum,” KGO-TV Dec. 11th Holiday Showcase’ UCSF

the BBC reporter over. He and his photographer chat with me awhile. Among the interesting tidbits: their crew is able to go live without a truck or any cable. How? An antenna on the camera beams directly to the satellite. Wow! The stories about the cash-happy BBC must be true. Hey, I tell the reporter, you should interview us. I’m from California and this young blonde next to me is from Sweden. The whole world is here. The Brits go for it -- hook, line and sinker. Two hits later, the BBC reporter and photographer saunter our way and “chat us up” live. Me first. Yes sir, we’re used to movie stars in California. We’ve now elected two as governor. Yes, it’s lovely out here. And, yes, London is an awesome city. When it’s Swede’s turn she does a “deer in the headlights.”” Yes, no, yes, no are the answers. The reporter tosses back. Our 15 seconds of fame, at least in England, are up. Minutes later, Meg Ryan arrives, exits her car, waves to the crowd and disappears into the theatre. Time for me to find the Strand . Jolly good show, everyone. Send your stories, press releases and photos to or NATAS Off Camera 4317 Camden Avenue San Mateo, CA 94403-5007 fax: 650-372-0279