Today, TVNewser begins a multi-week series where we’ll catch up with some tvnewsers of yesterday to learn about their lives now, and their perspectives on the industry. We start with former ABC newsman Ken Kashiwahara. Next week: former CNN anchor Bobbie Battista.
Ken Kashiwahara most certainly has used up some of his nine lives.
Take his harrowing escape from South Vietnam while on assignment for ABC News in 1975. “It was anarchy, chaos,” he tells TVNewser about the fall of Saigon.
Kashiwahara was trapped in a mob of humanity trying to flee the country via helicopter at the U.S. Embassy. He knew he had to scale the compound’s wall to safety.
“U.S. Marines were on top of the wall, pulling people up,” he recalls. Kashiwahara was one of the lucky ones literally lifted up and over.
The story is just one of many experienced during a quarter-century with the network. Another moment had Kashiwahara showered with shrapnel while covering the Lebanese Civil War.
“In the very beginning,” he says about his 25-year tenure with ABC, spent as a correspondent and as a Hong Kong and San Francisco bureau chief, “it was very exciting, the travel and not knowing where you were going to be from one day to the next.
“But after a while it got a little tiring. You could never plan your life.”
And so in 1998, at the age of 58, Kashiwahara retired.
It all began in 1969 when, after a stint in the Air Force, Kashiwahara got his big break in journalism in his native Hawaii, at Honolulu’s KHVH radio. The station’s news director “took a chance on me. I mean, I was terrible!”