KUSI anchors Anna Laurel (left) and Sandra Maas. Courtesy KUSI

KUSI-TV in San Diego is reporting that CNN contacted KUSI’s newsroom last week and asked for the station to provide a report on a local view of the border wall debate.

KUSI said its local reporter Dan Plante, who has reported dozens of times on immigration and border issues, was offered to CNN who declined “after we informed them about our past reports,” the station said in a tweet.

In a statement posted on the KUSI website, digital content manager Mike McKinnon III wrote, “We believe CNN declined a report from KUSI because we informed them that most Border Patrol Agents we have spoken to told us the barrier does in fact work. We have continuously been told by Border Patrol Agents that the barrier along the Southern border helps prevent illegal entries, drugs and weapons from entering the United States, and the numbers prove it.”

In a newscast, anchor Anna Laurel told viewers, “They didn’t like what they heard from us.”

In response, CNN public relations tweeted, “We called several local stations to book someone for a show. We didn’t end up booking any of them. That happens many times every single day. We did, however, book a reporter from KUSI for a story on immigration and the border wall in November. This is a non-story.”

Several conservative news websites took the opportunity to comment on KUSI’s report.

The headline on the story by The Western Journal read: “CNN asks San Diego affiliate to discuss their border wall; when they find out the wall works, they kill the segment.” Townhall.com’s story said: “A Local News Station Just Called Out CNN On Air for Their Border Narrative.”

Long-Time TV GM Richard Kelley to Retire in March

After 44 years in the broadcasting industry, Richard Kelley has announced his retirement as president/GM of KNSD-TV NBC 7 San Diego and KUAN Telemundo 20 in San Diego. Kelley, 65, said he will retire at the end of March.

Richard Kelley

“I have been doing this for 44 years in New York, San Francisco and San Diego, and I’m in a good spot,” Kelley told Times of San Diego. “The last eight years with NBC 7 and now Telemundo 20 have been the most rewarding, fun and challenging. The current staff is the most capable group I’ve ever worked with. We’ve accomplished what I had hoped to, including transitioning to HD, adding 12 hours of local news a week to NBC 7’s schedule, moving the studios from Downtown San Diego to Kearny Mesa and launching Telemundo 20 with Spanish language local news. It’s all worked out pretty well. If I stayed any longer, I might mess-up my legacy.”

Kelley has been in San Diego since September 2010. Previously, he was VP of sales for KNTV, the NBC-owned station in San Francisco. He succeeded Jackie Bradford, who was promoted to president/GM of WRC-TV, the NBC-owned station in Washington, D.C. in July 2010.

An internal station memo said, “Dick has had an amazing career, and we are proud of the legacy he leaves behind. Our stations, our division and our company have benefitted greatly from his incredible work ethic and business savvy, and most importantly his leadership. We will begin to interview candidates for the General Manager position immediately, with the goal of leaving very little, if any, time between Dick’s departure and the new manager.” The memo was signed by Valari Dobson Staab, president, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, and Manuel Martinez, president, Telemundo Station Group

Kelley joined KNTV in 2008 from Monster Worldwide, where he was senior director of acquisition sales. Before that, he spent 15 years in the radio industry in San Francisco, serving as general manager for several FM stations in the Bay Area and later with additional responsibilities for multiple radio stations throughout California.

Kelley also spent two years as the VP of business development CoolCast, a start-up, and as an account executive for USA Networks in New York City. The native New Yorker’s first job after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1975 was as an account executive with Christal Radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

Kelley said he plans to remain at his Point Loma home and stay active doing some consulting and volunteering in the local community. He’s currently vice chair for Make-a-Wish San Diego. Dick and wife Kate have three grown children, Lauren, 33, Reed, 31, and Andrew, 29.

Chris Cantore Back on The Radio

Chris Cantore has returned to the San Diego radio airwaves. He can be heard weekday mornings, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., on KFMB-FM 100.7. The station said Cantore had been filling in on the morning show the past several months and is now taking over the slot permanently.

Cantore has worked in the San Diego radio market since the early 1990s with several rock stations including XTRA-FM, KPRI-FM and KBZT-FM. According to a press release, Cantore started his career as an assistant at 100.7 after graduating from San Diego State University in 1993.

“I don’t believe in coincidences and it’s no coincidence that after a two-year hiatus, I am returning to the San Diego airwaves on the same frequency I started my broadcasting career, exactly 25 years ago,” Cantore said in a statement. “It honestly feels like home, or a comfortable hoodie. I am beyond thankful and humbled by this incredible opportunity and look forward to building something pretty special for San Diego in 2019 and beyond.”

“Cantore has that cool, laid-back vibe that is so easy to connect with,” said Mike Vasquez, KFMB’s director of FM programming. “He’s not only entertaining, but he’s an authentic guy who cares about our community. He epitomizes all things San Diego and is an ideal ambassador for our station. I’m thrilled to have him joining our 100.7 San Diego family.”

In 2014, Chris Cantore rejoined Compass Radio Group’s KPRI 102.1-FM as morning show host. He previously had been heard in the afternoons on KPRI from 2010 to 2012. Also in 2014, he was also working as director of lifestyle and entertainment at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper (it was called the U-T San Diego at the time).

In October 2015, he was paired with Steven Woods on KBZT-FM. The Cantore & Woods show ended in January 2017.

Then, in April 2017, he began hosting “The Cutting Edge of Sports,” weekdays, 6 to 9 p.m. on sports talk station XPRS 1090-AM The Mighty 1090. Cantore’s sports show ended about a month later.

SDX Will Discuss Digital Design

SDX will present “Forget the Fluff, Leading Design Conversations By Telling It Like It is” from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Basic Agency, 845 15th Street, Suite 501. Topics presented by Basic Agency employees will include digital designs that elevate the customer experience, as well as how creative people can solve big problems with the correct questions to ask and by standing up for what they believe. Previous Basic Agency clients have included Apple, Nixon, REI, Volcom, Nike, Fender and Playstation. Admission is free for members and $40 per person for nonmembers. The presentation is part of SDX’s ongoing “Inspire” seminar series. For more information, visit SDX at www.sandiegox.org.

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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