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San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

Robert Handa Returns to KNTV

handa_cropped_ktnvRobert Handa is going back to KNTV.

Handa will report for the San Francisco Bay Area NBC owned station and also host a weekly program featuring the Bay Area’s Asian American community.

“We’re thrilled to have a journalist with Robert’s talents and expertise joining our staff,” Jonathan Mitchell, KNTV’s VP of news said in a statement on AsianWeek.com which first reported the news.

Handa told TVSpy by email, “I’m excited about the move and new role as I ‘return home’ to ch11(as many staffers put it). I will miss the people at ch 2.”

He started his career with KNTV when it was an ABC affiliate and joins the station from Oakland FOX affiliate KTVU. He has also worked at KPIX and KQED.

What Are Local Stations Covering?

Only two of the stations in the San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland market are in San Francisco. ABC owned KGO and CBS owned KPIX are actually about a block away from one another. FOX affiliate KTVU is across the bay in Oakland while NBC owned station KNTV is about an hour south in San Jose.

Despite their geographical differences, the stations pretty much covered the same range of stories with only a few variations.

Here’s what they covered in the first five minutes:

LA Station Catches Hidden Cash Millionaire Stashing Dough

The phenomenon that started in San Francisco known as Hidden Cash, where a mystery real estate developer puts hundreds of dollars in an envelope, tweets out hints to its location and lets people have at it with no strings attached is catching the attention of local TV stations.

Yesterday, the free money moved about an hour south of SF to San Jose where Bay Area FOX affiliate KTVU caught someone finding the cash on live TV. Watch that video after the jump.

Now, the millionaire is leaving his green calling cards in LA, where CBS owned station KCBS got an exclusive interview.

The mystery man who says he is giving back after a lucrative real estate deal told KCBS he was going to be in LA for a couple of days and planned to spread the love in the Southland. Read more

KGO Responds to Report Two Veteran Anchors Getting Kicked to Curb

kgo logoSan Francisco ABC owned station KGO has responded to Bay Area media blogger Rich Lieberman’s report the station will not renew the contracts of veteran anchor Cheryl Jennings and weatherman Spencer Christian come December.

“This is the latest in a long string of inaccurate and venomous ramblings by a local individual on his personal website” KGO said in a statement sent to TVSpy. “His latest post regarding two beloved KGO employees is not true and further demonstrates that he and his so-called ‘sources’ have no actual knowledge of any of our business dealings.”

Jennings has been with KGO since 1979 and has long been a fixture on the early evening and noon newscast. Christian was hired by former KGO GM Joe Ahern in 1999 after 13 years as the weatherman for ABC’s Good Morning America.

Carolyn Johnson Joins KNBC in Los Angeles

carolyn johnsonCarolyn Johnson is joining KNBC, the NBC-owned station in Los Angeles, in June. Johnson comes from KGO, the ABC-owned station in San Francisco, where she has worked since 2007.

“Carolyn is an excellent journalist whose passion for journalism is seen through her exceptional story-telling abilities,” KNBC vice president of news Todd Mokhtari said in a statement. “Carolyn grew up in Southern California and now she is returning home to join the most talented and respected journalists in the market at NBC4.”

In her new role, Johnson will co-anchor the noon newscast alongside Whit Johnson and the 6 p.m. newscast alongside Chuck Henry.

Weekend Anchor Diane Dwyer Leaving KNTV

Diane-DwyerDiane Dwyer is leaving KNTV in June, San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman reports.

Dwyer is the weekend anchor for the NBC-owned station in San Francisco. KNTV vice president of news Jonathan Mitchell announced the news to staff in a note obtained by Lieberman.

“Diane will be a part of some special projects in the year to come, and while we won’t see her every weekend, she’ll still contribute on-air from time-to-time,” Mitchell wrote. “I’d like to thank Diane for her years of service to NBC Bay Area and our community. Diane is an excellent journalist and we’ll miss her on the weekends, but we’re excited about our future projects together.”

KNTV Launches Monthly Newsmagazine Hosted by Janet Reilly

Janet Reilly photoKNTV, the NBC-owned station in San Francisco, is debuting a monthly newsmagazine called “The Mix” this week. Hosted by Janet Reilly, the show “will deliver an in-depth look at the Bay Area’s biggest stories and will feature interviews with a variety of California’s leading newsmakers.”

Reilly is the former president of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, as well as the co-founder and president of a volunteer-based medical clinic in San Francisco. She has run for public office twice, in 2006 and 2010.

“Janet’s passion for public service and motivation for social change are sure to catch the attention of our viewers as she covers the topics that matter most to them,” KNTV president and general manager Rich Cerussi said in a statement. “We are excited to be adding The Mix to our weekend lineup and to give our viewers access to these fascinating people and stories.”

The show debuts Saturday with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and her daughter. It will air the third Saturday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Possible Human Remains Found in Rubble of Old KNTV Building, Arson Suspect Arrested

kntv fire_304A homeless San Jose man has been charged with arson and first degree burglary for allegedly starting the fire that destroyed the former home of San Francisco Bay Area station KNTV.

Stillman Pfeffer has been charged with using a liquid accelerant to start the fire.

The abandoned building has recently been used as an encampment by the city’s homeless. The San Jose Mercury News also reports possible human remains have been detected in the rubble.

Pfeffer was arraigned Wednesday and did not enter a plea. He is being held without bail while dogs trained to detect human remains are deployed by the San Jose Fire Department to examine the charred structure.

About 1:30 Wednesday, one of the dogs alerted handlers of a possible hit in the rubble. A short time later a second dog had a hit in the same location. The pile of debris was then partially excavated and the dogs were brought back again in the early evening. Again, they detected something, but officials said they would have to do a deeper excavation Thursday morning.

San Jose Fire Capt. Cleo Doss said that while they couldn’t confirm remains were under the debris, the dogs used are generally quite reliable. Read more

Homeless Man Says His Uncle May Have Died in KNTV Fire

kntv fire_304A man who was one of several homeless squatters occupying the former KNTV headquarters says his uncle may have died in the fire that gutted the building, the CBS-owned station in San Francisco reports:

One homeless man, who gave his name as Ace, told KCBS he believed that his uncle perished in the blaze. He said over two-dozen people were living in the former television station. “We all had rooms; we build our own rooms. It just kept us all off the streets. It kept us all in there as family,” he said.

The man said he thinks his uncle died in the fire because his apartment was barricaded. Firefighters are continuing their investigation and searching for possible victims but at around 7 a.m., they were still dousing the occasional hotspots.

Former KNTV Building Gutted by Fire


The TV studio at 645 Park Avenue in San Jose is no more. The building that once housed San Francisco Bay Area station KNTV when it was an ABC affiliate, then an independent station, was gutted yesterday by a five alarm fire.

The building near downtown San Jose had been abandoned since 2004 and sat across the street from the San Jose Fire Department’s training facility. It opened its doors in 1955.

The fire started around 3:00 p.m. yesterday. According to the San Jose Mercury News, two people, “apparently homeless individuals” safely escaped the building when firefighters arrived.

Former employees took to facebook to post pictures of the fire and remember the building where many of them started their careers. David Lee, now news director for Tallahassee’s WTXL, was a sports anchor at the station in the 90s. He wrote, “Hate to see it go down like the Red Wings did the first time the Sharks made the playoffs!!! Lots of memories and friends.”

“This is the old KNTV studio .. On fire,” wrote current KNTV reporter Scott Budman who posted a picture of the fire on facebook. “Lots of good memories there. Hope everyone nearby is safe.”

You can watch KNTV video of former anchor Maggi Scura remembering the building after the jump. Read more

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