Cantu, who worked at Austin’s KTBC and KVUE before moving to KEYE in 2002, has decided to leave the CBS/Telemundo affiliate in search of another anchor chair to fill. Cantu resigned his post at KEYE’s Spanish newscast because language was an apparent obstacle between him and the viewers.
“KEYE asked me to give it a shot because I was so well known in the market and would lend instant credibility to this start-up,” Cantu tells TVSpy. “But since English is my primary language, I was frustrated that I wasn’t doing as well as I did in English. The viewers were– for the most part– very supportive, but I knew they deserved better.”
Before helming the Telemundo anchor desk, Cantu served as a morning anchor for KEYE’s CBS affiliate, where viewers often referred to him simply as “Uncle Fred.” The station offered Cantu a reporter post but the veteran anchor ultimately decided that he would miss the viewer connection that comes with anchoring the news.
“I feel I am better able to connect with the viewer live from the anchor desk as opposed to with a pre-recorded piece,” he says. “Something as simple as a last-second adlib or reaction to a story can strengthen that bond with the viewer.”
Cantu would like to remain in Austin but he’s keeping his options open. Before starting on TV, Cantu worked as a news anchor and program director at Austin radio stations for 10 years, including KNOW/KSCW and KTXZ. During his long career in radio and TV, Cantu has seen the media landscape change drastically.
“The Internet was a game changer,” he says. “People don’t rush to the TV at the end of the day to find out what happened while they were at work. They already know. But they can turn to us at the end of the day for insight into the local stories they’ve heard about only briefly. And if anchors and reporters aren’t already connecting directly with viewers on facebook or twitter, they need to get on it.”
Taking his own advice, Cantu will continue connecting with Austin viewers through his Facebook page even after he signs off from KEYE. Today is his last day.