Sandi Banister
Sandi Banister

Sandi Banister, who has worked in the San Diego broadcasting industry since 1978, has retired after 26 years as community and promotions manager at KSWB-TV/Fox 5 San Diego.

Her last day was Dec. 28. The only other employee at KSWB with more longevity — 33 years — is Scott Health, who joined the station as a salesman and is now president and general manager.

“It was time to step away,” said Banister. “It was a hard decision. I was not burned-out, but I just felt like the time was right.”

In 1992, after eight years at KFMB Radio as promotions manager, Banister joined the TV station when its call letters were KTTY/Channel 69. The station first signed on the air on Oct. 1, 1984, as “San Diego’s Movie Channel.” Then, in August 1996, as an affiliate of the WB Network, the call letters changed to KSWB.

“I’m proud to have survived through four general managers, four network affiliation changes (from independent to WB to CW to Fox), plus numerous logo changes, ownership changes and news programming launches, to name a few,” said Banister. “As a WB affiliate, we were the first San Diego station with a 10 p.m. newscast, called the WB News at Ten. Today, as a Fox affiliate, we have 15 hours per day of locally produced newscasts.”

Banister started her career in 1978 as music director at KPRI-FM. She also worked in promotions at KGB-FM before joining KFMB Radio in 1984, the same year the San Diego Padres baseball team played in its first World Series. KFMB aired Padres baseball games at the time.

“Back then, I was a total rocker and wasn’t a big baseball fan, but I took a chance and joined this radio station that I was not familiar with and, of all things, the team ends up in the World Series my first year. It was crazy fun,” Banister said.

Her retirement plans include traveling and enjoying life with husband Jim McInnes, a veteran local disc jockey who is currently heard weekends on KGB-FM. KSWB officials said her job responsibilities will be spilt between Alejandro Guajardo, creative services director, and Christine Vargas, news promotions manager.

Radio Political Advertising in SoCal Totaled $17 Million in 2018

The Southern California Broadcasters Association, a trade organization promoting the benefits of radio advertising, recently reported that $17 million was spent in political advertising during the 2018 mid-term election cycle in the combined San Diego and Los Angeles markets.

Thom Callahan, president of the association, said the political ad revenue total makes Southern California the nation’s leading political ad powerhouse.

The report said radio stations in the L.A. market generated $14.7 million in 2018, compared with $2.2 million in 2017. San Diego radio stations received $2.4 million in political ad revenue in 2018, compared with $122,000 in 2017.

In its press release, the Los Angeles-based association revealed the total from the 2016 presidential election year in the L.A. market, but not for San Diego. In 2016 in L.A., SCBA said political advertising on radio totaled $13.2 million.

Afternoon Talk-Show Change at KCBQ 1170-AM

KCBQ 1170-AM in San Diego (“The Answer”), owned by the Salem Media Group, began Jan. 1 to broadcast “America First with Sebastian Gorka,” a three-hour weekday talk show on current affairs and politics from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., in place of The Michael Medved Show. Medved, who grew up in San Diego and now lives in Seattle, will continue his show as a podcast.

Sebastian Gorka

“I feel grateful for the more than 21 years I’ve worked with Salem Media Group, and I wish continued success to my friends and colleagues at the network,” said Medved in a statement. “Together with my team of producers here in Seattle, we’ll be continuing our daily broadcast with no interruption, making it available to our devoted listeners in an exciting new format. We’ll also move forward with our emphasis on history programs and commentary to encourage public appreciation of the real blessings of this amazing country.”

Gorka also appears regularly on the Fox News Channel as the network’s national security strategist. His recent books include “Why We Fight: Defeating America’s Enemies, With No Apologies” (Regnery, a publishing house owned by Salem Media Group) and “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War (Regnery). Gorka was an advisor to candidate Donald Trump and served on the White House staff in 2017 as deputy assistant to the President for strategy.

“Radio has always been my first love, since I listened to talk radio late at night on a transistor radio as a child,” said Gorka. “America is finally recovering its rightful place as the shining city on a hill after eight years of liberal self-loathing. Salem’s broadcasts are essential to that recovery and I am honored to join Salem’s team, the greatest lineup in talk radio with true patriots like Prager, Gallagher, Hewitt, Elder, and Metaxas.” Salem Media owns or operates 116 radio stations, with 73 stations in the top 25 U.S. media markets.

iHeart Media Collected 11,369 Pounds of Food

iHeart Media San Diego’s local seven radio stations recently collected 11,369 pounds of unopened, non-perishable food items for the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. The holiday food drive, held in December at SDCCU Stadium, included live broadcasts on iHeart’s KGB-FM, KHTS-FM, KIOZ-FM, KLSD-AM, KMYI-FM, KOGO-AM and KSSX-FM. Donors could drive through and drop off items without leaving their cars.

“Hunger is everywhere,” said James Floros, president/CEO, San Diego Food Bank. “We are very grateful to iHeartMedia San Diego for supporting the San Diego Food Bank over the holiday season with this amazing drive-through food drive at SDCCU Stadium.”

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.