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Santa Barbra-San Luis Obispo

KSBY Mourns National Sales Manager Tricia Rittger

Tricia Rittger, the national sales manager at San Luis Obispo NBC-affiliate KSBY, died this weekend after she was hit by a car while crossing the street. She was 39.

“The KSBY family is devastated by Tricia’s death,” station president and general manager Kathleen Choal said in a statement. “Tricia was a dedicated and loving mother, wife, sister and friend. It is a terrible loss for all of us and her family.”

Rittger, who Choal said had a “sunny smile and a terrific sense of humor,” was hired by KSBY in November 1998, working her way up to national sales manager.

The accident happened shortly before 7 p.m. on Saturday night, in front of the Cliff’s Resort in Pismo Beach, CA. Further details of the accident have not yet been released.

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Veteran KSBY Anchor Richard Gearhart Joining Journalism Faculty at Cal Poly

Summer vacation is over for KSBY morning anchor Richard Gearhart. The veteran anchor, who helms the morning hours at the central California NBC affiliate, has been named an associate professor of journalism at his alma mater, California Polytechnic State University.

Gearhart — who has been with KSBY since 1990 — will continue to anchor the station’s morning show. He will coordinate the journalism department’s broadcast concentration, which includes both a TV and radio station.

“I hope my experience and involvement in a rapidly changing industry can help guide the students and the department as they transition to a new era in mass media,” Gearhart, who has been teaching agricultural communication at the university since 2006, said in a statement. Read more

Tony Cipolla Named Morning Co-Anchor at KCOY

After spending the majority of his career at the NBC affiliate in San Luis Obispo, KSBY, Tony Cipolla has been hired as an anchor at the market’s CBS affiliate, KCOY. He will anchor the morning broadcast alongside Sara Cole.

Cipolla left KSBY after 20 years last spring, claiming station management had offered to renew his contract only if he accepted a 40 percent pay cut. When he left KSBY, he said he was in talks with KCOY; when asked by the San Luis Obispo Tribune, station general manager Kevin Harlan said negotiations have been going on “for a while,” but refused to be more specific.

Cipolla has been teaching journalism at the California Polytechnic State University for the past year. He told the San Luis Obispo Tribune he intends to take advantage of his free afternoons by continuing to teach.

“I love the opportunity to mentor young minds, and I really thrive on seeing the next generation of journalists coming through,” Cipolla said. “It’s so neat to have a classroom of students; you can tell the ones who, wow, get it.”

New KSBY Boss Hires Doug Barden as News Director

Doug Barden, the news director at KBAK-KBFX in Bakersfield, CA, has been hired to lead the newsroom at San Luis Obispo’s KSBY.

Barden will replace Dave Schermer, who left the station earlier this year shortly after Kathleen Choal became the NBC-affiliate’s president and general manager.

Choal, a TV news veteran who previously served as news director and station manager at Tucson’s KVOA, was impressed by Barden’s resume.

“With his experience and passion for news, Doug was exactly the journalist I was looking for to lead this newsroom,” Choal told TVSpy.

Barden worked as an assistant news director at Salt Lake City’s KSTU and Reno’s KRNV before becoming KBAK-KBFX’s news director in 2008. His first day with KSBY is set for July 11th.

KSBY News Director Resigns After New Station Boss Assumes Leadership

News director Dave Schermer, who has been with KSBY since 2006, is stepping down from his position at the San Luis Obispo NBC-affiliate.

The move comes after Kathleen Choal, who has extensive experience leading newsrooms, assumed the president and general manager post on April 1st.

Choal came to KSBY from Tucson’s KVOA, where she served as news director and station manager. Choal joined KVOA as news director in 2005 and was appointed station manager in 2009.

Announcing his resignation on Wednesday, Schermer said that he will now focus on building informational websites. He is set to stay with KSBY for the next several weeks.

Veteran Reporter Caroline Lowe Leaves WCCO, Following Colleagues to San Luis Obispo’s KSBY

Reporter Caroline Lowe, who has covered crime for WCCO since 1977, is leaving the Minneapolis-St. Paul CBS O&O for San Luis Obispo’s KSBY, a station that has become a haven for ‘CCO expats.

Lowe’s husband recently retired and the couple decided to make a move to the California coast, where their daughter Shelby currently works as a news producer for KSBY.

Shelby used to work as an assignment editor at WCCO and she’s one of three former WCCO staffers to recently join KSBY. Jeanette Trompeter and John Reger, who were both laid off by WCCO, currently anchor KSBY’s weekday evening newscasts.

“I love this place. WCCO is such a part of my DNA, but I also look forward to working with young people and helping them,” said Lowe, who will work as a news manager, mentoring KSBY’s team of young reporters. Read more