By Rick Griffin
Reporter and anchor Sasha Foo has left the TV news industry after working the past 17 years at KUSI-TV to pursue other interests and life goals. The station aired a tribute to her during her final newscast.
“It’s been a tremendous ride, but the pandemic and the events of the last seven months have given me an opportunity to reassess and reevaluate some of my life goals,” Foo told Times of San Diego. “As someone has recently told me, ‘If you want to explore new waters, you have to lose sight of the shore.’”
Foo declined to elaborate on her future plans. “I would prefer not to be specific right now,” she said. However, while other former journalists have moved into communications roles for elected officials, Foo said that job would not interest her.
She plans to continue living in San Diego. “This city is my home. It’s where I have many dear friends and contacts in the community,” she said. “My time in San Diego has been the richest and happiest of my career.”
Foo’s first broadcasting job in the 1980s was in Philadelphia as a news writer at KYW Newsradio 1060-AM. Her on-air TV news career began in Tulsa, Okla. Over the decades, she has worked in TV in nine cities, including Atlanta (CNN), Seattle (KIRO), Boston (WBZ and WHDH), New York City (WWOR), Los Angeles (KCOP) and San Francisco (KPIX and KNTV), before arriving at KUSI-TV in September 2003.
At CNN, she was that network’s first Asian-American news anchor.
“No one is sprung from the womb as a TV journalist. It takes time and a lot of effort to develop your skills,” she said. “I look forward to managing my time differently than with a 40-to-50-hour-a-week job.”
“Sasha and I have been colleagues since KCOP in 1995 and I brought her to KUSI,” said Steve Cohen, KUSI news director. “She is unique as a story teller and more as a thoughtful, empathetic person. She always brought her entire being to the task of reporting on this community. We have been through a great deal together and I will miss her presence, but will always carry her spirit within me.”
Ex-LA Times Columnist Now Sports-Talk Radio Host on ‘Mightier 1090’
Arash Markazi, former sports columnist with the Los Angeles Times, is now hosting “The Arash Markazi Show,” a one-hour, weekday sports talk show from noon to 1 p.m. on XEPRS 1090-AM, The Mightier 1090.
According to an LA Times article, Markazi was placed on paid leave before he resigned in August of this year following an investigation into allegations of plagiarism and ethical impropriety.
The Times article, published Sept. 21, said, “Markazi’s departure was the latest in a series of scandals that has engulfed the newsroom and led to an extraordinary reshuffling atop The Times. Since early last year, six prominent editors have been either pushed out, demoted or had responsibilities reduced because of ethical lapses, bullying behavior or other failures of management.”
Before joining the Times in 2019, Markazi was a senior writer at ESPN for nine years. He grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from USC in 2004, after which he worked as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated for five years.
“Every story has two sides and that is definitely the case with this as well,” said Bill Hagen, station operator, who launched the San Diego-based station in August. The sports-talk station had been off the air since April 2019.
“I had no issues whatsoever of bringing Arash on board at The Mightier 1090. His knowledge of all things sports in SoCal and experience with all types of media channels was a big plus for us. Adding Arash’s show was another important piece of getting our iconic 1090 back to its rightful position as the No. 1 radio station in Southern California.
“Each and every day we continue to build this iconic radio station back into something that everyone will love. Adding another local show with Arash was a huge step in the right direction.”
Markazi told Times of San Diego his brief tenure at the LA Times is “behind me now.”
“It wasn’t a good fit and I sensed from the beginning that I wasn’t wanted,” he said. “I made some mistakes but much of what was put out there about me by my former colleagues simply isn’t true. But, that’s behind me now. I left a great job at ESPN to work at my local newspaper because I still love and believe in print journalism.”
Markazi’s role as talk-show host is not new to him. He said he has filled-in as a guest host and been interviewed many times on Los Angeles radio stations ESPN 710-AM and KLAC 570-AM over the past decade.
“I don’t see it so much as a pivot but as an extension and growth of my career,” said Marakazi. “I’ve been involved in sports talk radio in some way shape or form for about 25 years. It has always been my dream to host my own sports radio talk show and I’m thankful that dream has become a reality. I look forward to connecting with fans.”
According to a station statement, Markazi began dreaming of hosting a radio sports talk show as a youngster in elementary school and later at Norte Dame High School in Sherman Oaks.
“When I was in grade school, I would listen to the old Mighty 690 every day and type out faxes to my favorite sports talk radio hosts at the station since I was too young to call in,” Markazi said. “When we were asked to draw our future jobs in school, I drew a picture of me hosting a sports talk show on the old 690. I even created a logo for my radio show in school, but I was too nervous to actually pursue it. So, it remained nothing more than a childhood dream. Well, 26 years later that dream has become a reality.”
Markazi’s interviews on The Mighty 1090 can be heard at his website, TheMorningColumn.com. Recent discussion topics have included Dodgers playoff games, the Clippers hiring Ty Lue as head coach, the Lakers NBA championship and how the Los Angeles Chargers find new ways to lose after blowing a 17-point second quarter lead for two consecutive weeks. The blog post headline read, “Are the Chargers cursed or jinxed?”
Current weekday programming on The Mightier 1090 includes: “The Morning After,” a nationally syndicated talk show with hosts Ariel Epstein and Jared Smith, 6 to 9 a.m.; Rich Eisner, a nationally syndicated talk-show host, 9 a.m. to noon; Scott Ferrall with two shows per day, including “Ferrall Coast to Coast,” 1 to 3 p.m. and “Ferrall On The Bench,” 7 to 9 p.m.; Scott Kaplan, 3 to 7 p.m.; Bill Schmid, 9 p.m. to midnight.
Mindgruve Named to Inc. 5000 List for Third Consecutive Year
Mindgruve, a San Diego creative marketing agency, reports it has earned a spot on this years’ Inc. Magazine 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Company list for the third consecutive year. The agency said it was listed by Inc. as No. 2,789 with a reported growth rate of more than 143 percent.
“This is a remarkable honor,” says Chad Robley, Mindgruve CEO and founder. “Since 2001, we’ve stayed true to the philosophy that if we grow our clients’ businesses, we’ll grow our own. Seeing Mindgruve on the Inc. 5000 since 2018 is testament to that.”
The agency’s current client roster includes Victorinox Swiss Army, PCA Skin (a Colgate-Palmolive company), SkullCandy, Boot Barn and Bay City Brewing Company.
“Every day, our staff creates groundbreaking work that helps drive business growth for brands,” Robley said. “It’s a main reason why we frequently receive referrals from both existing and past clients.”
iHeart Media Supports School Supplies Drive
SDCCU Stuff the Bus, an annual school supplies fundraiser, recently collected $130,900 for students experiencing homelessness. The fundraiser was supported by four iHeart Media San Diego radio stations, including Star 94.1, Channel 93.3, JAM’N 95.7 and KOGO 600-AM, along with San Diego County Credit Union and the San Diego County Office of Education.
School supplies, sent to 32 school districts and 26 charter schools, filled a record 7,724 backpacks, officials said. Donations also were used to purchase 2,000 planners and 24,000 face masks.
“I am absolutely overwhelmed by the results of Stuff the Bus this year,” said Susie Terry, homeless liaison, foster youth and homeless education services, for the county office of education. “I never imagined that during a pandemic we would get as large of a response as we did. The San Diego community answered the call for help and every student experiencing homelessness for which supplies were requested is going to get them.”
“We are thrilled to have filled a record number of backpacks this year for thousands of students in need throughout San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties,” said Teresa Campbell, SDCCU president and CEO. “This year more than ever, it’s important that they start the school year ready to learn and succeed. We are so grateful to all the generous donors who help make this initiative a tremendous success year after year.”
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.