MarketInk: Former General Manger Reflects on XETV’s 64-Year History

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Channel 6 logos over the years. Courtesy Chuck Duning

By Rick Griffin

Chuck Dunning, former vice president and general manager of XETV-TV, will reflect on Channel 6‘s unique record in American television history during a special two-hour presentation at San Diego State University.

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Dunning, who is now retired and lives in Pacific Beach, will discuss the 64-year history of Channel 6 at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 26, at SDSU’s Gateway Center at 5250 Campanile Dr. The lecture is hosted by SDSU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the public is invited to attend.

XETV was launched in early 1953, as San Diego’s second-oldest TV station behind KFMB-TV. It was operated by San Diego-based Bay City Television, which ceased operations last year on May 31 after XETV lost its CW network affiliation to KFMB. Dunning worked at XETV for 39 of its 64 years, and was named general manager in 2010.

“Channel 6 has a unique record in American television history. It was the first time that a TV station’s signal and its primary audience were in two different countries,” said Dunning. “In the ‘50s, the ABC network was looking for an affiliate in San Diego with a powerful signal. The Azcarraga family owned the Channel 6 license, which was allocated to Tijuana through a joint agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments. So, ABC approached Mr. Azcarraga to affiliate his Mexican station with ABC and broadcast in English into San Diego and a deal was struck.”

Chuck Dunning

XETV became an ABC affiliate in 1955. The ABC affiliation was lost in July 1973, when ABC switched to KCST-TV, known today as KNSD, and XETV became an independent station. Then, in 1987, XETV became one of the first stations in the country to affiliate with the new Fox network, which continued until 2008, when it became a CW network affiliate.

As an ABC affiliate, XETV brought many firsts to San Diego, including the premiere of Monday Night Football. XETV also aired the 1998 World Series with the Padres and Yankees. Long-time San Diegans will remember the slogans “Where Your Favorites Are” or “Super Station Six.”

As part of his retirement, Dunning is writing a book on the history of Channel 6. “We found all sorts of interesting photos and archival documents when were emptying the building last year,” he said. “My lecture will include details about how Channel 6 came to be, all the obstacles we overcame, the bad decisions made by local management, corporate short-termism and our eventual demise, as well as the changing world of local broadcasting.”

The lecture is titled “Roadkill on the Digital Highway.” Admission to attend Dunning’s lecture is $15 per person. For information, call (619) 594-5152, (619) 594-2863, or send an e-mail to osher@sdsu.edu.

Marketing Agency i.d.e.a. Honored by Senator Toni Atkins

Marketing agency i.d.e.a. has been named by state Sen. Toni Atkins as her Small Business of the Year in the 39th District. Company founders Indra Gardiner Bowers and Jon Bailey recently traveled to Sacramento to accept the award from Atkins, who is currently serving as Senate President pro Tempore.

“Indra, Jon and the whole team at i.d.e.a. lead by example,” Atkins said. “Not only do they provide first-rate professional services for their clients, create middle-class jobs for our workforce and do their part to power our local economy, they also demonstrate what it means for businesses to be good citizens of our region. I am pleased to name i.d.e.a. my Small Business of the Year.”

Toni Atkins (left) with Jon Bailey and Indra Gardiner Bowers.

Atkins is the first woman and the first openly gay lawmaker to serve as president of the California State Senate. An i.d.e.a. company statement notes that “i.d.e.a. is led by a woman and a gay man. Being inclusive is who we are and always have been. Jon and Indra have sat on the boards of and supported local organizations, including AIDS Walk, San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, AIDS Foundation San Diego and the National Conflict Resolution Center. We support an America that is diverse, inclusive and kind.”

“Being a small business means we have the opportunity to connect with our local community in a special way,” Gardiner Bowers said. “It has always been our priority to be socially conscious and give back, whether through volunteer work or providing pro bono work to local nonprofits. We’re proud to be a part of the 39th District and look forward to continue serving this community for many more years to come.”

Bailey said about the award ceremony, “Hearing our names called from the podium we just looked at each other with heartfelt smiles of gratitude for each other, for our team, for the nonprofits we love and, yes, for our accomplishments together.”

L7 Creative Wins Another Aster Award for Eisenhower

L7 Creative, a Carlsbad-based digital brand engagement agency, reports it recently won a Silver Aster award from Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine for a recruitment video produced for Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.

L7 said their video, disseminated through digital media, has become a valuable component of Eisenhower Health’s recruitment strategy.

Tom Gallego, L7 chief creative officer, said the rationale for the video, “A Five-Star Lifestyle and Career Experience,” was based on the Palm Springs resort lifestyle.

“Tell someone you went to a five-star hotel or restaurant and they’ll instantly know it was all about excellence. So why not position Eisenhower Health’s employment as a five-star career choice,” said Gallego. “The video takes candidates through a series of scenes showing what it’s like to have a stellar experience living, working, playing and prospering in the Coachella Valley and at Eisenhower Health.”

Last year, the agency won a Gold Aster award for its redesign of Eisenhower’s careers website featuring integrated recruitment and tracking software. Founded in 2001, L7 also has an office in Boston.

KSWB-TV Wins Award for 360-Virtual Studio Tour

KSWB-TV/Fox 5 San Diego said it recently won a Muse Creative Award from the International Awards Associates for a video featuring a 360-degree virtual tour of its new studios.

The video was produced by Alejandro Guajardo, Fox 5 creative services director, and Jonathan Winbush of Winbush Design and Animation Studio of Laguna Beach. “We pride ourselves in finding innovative ways to promote our news and it’s a great honor to receive this recognition from Muse Creative Awards,” said Guajardo.


Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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