By Rick Griffin
In July 2016, TV newscaster Jason Austell left KNSD/NBC 7 after 12 years to join XETV-TV/Channel 6 as weekday evening anchor. Then in March, CW6 ended its newscasts and Austell was out of a job. Now KUSI-NEWS/Channel 9 has hired Austell to co-anchor with Elizabeth Alvarez its “Good Morning San Diego” (6 to 11 a.m.) weekend edition.
“I’m looking forward to joining the circus,” Austell joked during an introductory interview last week (click here to view the interview.) Austell will replace Dan Plante. A KUSI press release said Austell is the first on-air news personality from XETV to land a position at another San Diego station.
“KUSI News is excited that a newsman of Jason’s caliber will be joining our team,” said Steve Cohen, KUSI news director. “He grew up in San Diego and has worked here for more than 25 years. No one is better fit to enhance our KUSI brand of ‘More Local News.’”
The son of a naval aviator, Austell graduated from San Pasqual High School in Escondido (class of 1984). After attending Palomar College, Austell moved to Whitefish, Montana, to work in radio. He returned to San Diego to work as a traffic reporter for local radio stations (1990-1997). He then spent the next six years (1997-2003) as a traffic reporter for KFMB-TV/Channel 8, before joining KNSD in 2004. In 1997, Austell was aboard San Diego’s first news helicopter equipped with a gyro-stabilized camera.
Austell spent four years (2004-2008) flying in a helicopter as a traffic and news reporter for KNSD. Then, in 2008, when Bill Menish left as morning anchor to become a professional auctioneer, Austell asked for a tryout and got the job. Austell spent the next eight years as anchor on the “NBC 7 News Today” morning show. Austell and his wife, Moji, live in La Jolla where she operates a Pilates studio.
SAFE Fundraiser Will Support Marketers in Crisis
The San Diego Advertising Fund for Emergencies (SAFE) will host its annual fundraising party from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room and Beer Garden, 5985 Santa Fe St., San Diego. SAFE is a volunteer, nonprofit organization providing confidential financial assistance to local advertising and marketing professionals and their families facing a life crisis emergency.
SAFE’s major fundraiser of the year, now in its 16th year, will feature food, craft beer, networking, cornhole tournament and raffle to benefit grant recipients. The public is invited to attend.
Theme of this year’s party is “SAFE & Sound.” Live music will be performed by The Routine and Down North. Cost is $20 per person, which includes your first drink and souvenir pint glass (while supplies last). Venue is an indoor-outdoor setting and dress is casual.
Sponsors include Cox Media, KFMB Stations, Univision Radio, Sycuan Casino, MeringCarson, Entercom, California Bank and Trust, Brown Marketing Strategies, Creative Media Concepts, BrandSavants, Media Access Partners, Media Planning and Placement, Entravision Solutions, Rowlbertos Media and Boundless Network. For tickets and more information, visit SafeSanDiego.org.
SAFE officials said the nonprofit has helped more than 100 people in the advertising and marketing industry with more than $260,000 in grants.
Communication Groups to Gather for Diversity Mixer
Three communications networking groups will take part in the third annual Diversity Mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, at Gordon Biersch Brewery, 5010 Mission Center Road, San Diego. The groups include the Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter, International Association of Business Communicators and the San Diego chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Guest journalists invited to attend include Elena Gomez, NBC 7 San Diego; Maya Srikrishnan, Voice of San Diego; and Morgan Hurley, San Diego Community News Network. Tickets start at $25 per person. For more information, visit
Direct Marketers ‘Unleash Google Analytics’
SD Direct, formerly the San Diego Direct Marketing Association, will host “Unleashing the Power of Google Analytics,” a program on the most commonly used tracking system for websites, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at UCSD Extension, Room 317, 6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego. Speaker will be Thomas Bosilevac, chief insight officer, MashMetrics.
Topics will include best practices on installation and account management, how to collect terms that users type, how to connect Search Console, various plug-ins and scripts to enable Scroll Tracking, what is an “adjusted bounce rate”? and how to create reports that focus on quality of traffic (not just quantity). Cost is $20 for members, $40 for guests and $12 for students. Lunch is included. To RSVP, visit sddma.org/events.
Times of San Diego uses Google Analytics to determine monthly readership totals.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: