Barbara-Lee Edwards in her hospital bed
Barbara-Lee Edwards in her hospital bed.

Barbara-Lee Edwards, the evening anchor on KFMB CBS News 8 for nearly 20 years, has been off the air and recovering at her Encinitas home after a vein burst in her brain during the early hours of Christmas Eve.

“I’m really glad to share my story,” Edwards said in a phone interview with Times of San Diego. “I don’t want people to think my job has been quietly taken away. It’s quite the opposite. My KFMB family has been so very supportive and caring. Everyone’s love, support and prayers have been overwhelming in a really good way because they empower me along every day in my recovery.”

Edwards’ horrific story begins with the end of the 11 p.m. newscast two days before Christmas.

“I arrived home from work near midnight on Dec. 23 feeling great,” she wrote in a Jan. 7 post on her personal Facebook page. “When I was putting away my clothes I remember bending over slightly and boom! A searing pain hit the top of my head and spread down my neck into my shoulders. The pain was so severe that I got sick several times. A trip to the ER determined I had suffered a brain bleed.

“The whole experience has shaken me to my core but could’ve been so much worse. Because it was a vein that burst, and not an artery, it was not a stroke and my prognosis is promising.”

Edwards, a multiple Emmy award winner, has been at the helm of the CBS News 8 anchor desk since April 2001. Over the past two decades, in addition to her anchor duties, she has reported thousands of health-related news stories. She also has personally been involved in fundraising for Susan G. Komen San Diego’s breast cancer research efforts.

“As a health reporter, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge. So, in my case, I knew something was wrong. I laid down for a while to see if the pain would go away, but it didn’t. So, I went to the (Scripps Encinitas) hospital. They tested me for COVID, which was negative, and they were planning to do a spinal tap for meningitis. But, first, they did a brain scan and discovered the brain bleed. I didn’t even know what that meant.

“In the early hours of Dec. 24, I was transported in an ambulance to Scripps (Memorial Hospital) in La Jolla, where I was the only one in the ICU who was conscious and not on a ventilator with COVID. I was frightened, but the doctors there are excellent.

“They explained to me what happened. Of course, I asked about a timeframe. The neurologist said that it’s going to take some time, so get ready to be bored. Then he said with a smile, `You’ll have time to learn a new language if you want.’”

Edwards said she occasionally deals with fatigue and vision issues, as well as mild brain fog and light headaches. Additional medical tests are expected to clarify recovery details.

Mornings are the best times for short walks, crossword puzzles and dog attention. The family’s two dogs are named Charlotte, a larger dog, and Winnie, a smaller dog. Her new routine also includes an early bedtime compared to late-night TV anchor schedules.

“Now I have to follow the same advice I gave during my TV health reports, such as dial it down, rest, take it one day at a time and be patient,” she said. “But, as you know, journalists are not patient people. I’m doing better every day. It’s going to take a while. I know my situation could have been much worse. I’m very grateful for my family.”

Edwards said her daughter, a graduate of the University of Southern California, is at home due to fewer film productions in Los Angeles. A son is a senior at San Dieguito High School Academy.

In her most recent Facebook post on Feb 3, Edwards writes, “Getting back to normal after suffering a brain bleed in the early hours of Christmas Eve has been a slow process. But, the neurologists looking after me have assured that’s to be expected.

“I miss my KFMB family, all of whom have been kind, supportive and encouraging. I have also had a lot of beautiful notes from viewers expressing concern, offering prayers and asking when I might return to work. The truth is, it’s just too soon to say. But, getting back behind the anchor desk is my goal and I doing whatever it takes to heal and make that happen.

“Again, as tough as this has been, I have too many things to be grateful for to let it get me down. Thank you.”

Rush Limbaugh in the studio. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Local Talk-Show Hosts Agree: Limbaugh Was Voice Like No Other

The late Rush Limbaugh, an iconic talk radio trailblazer whose brash and unapologetic conservative voice dominated talk radio for three-plus decades, succumbed to lung cancer Feb. 17, following a year-long battle with the disease that had forced him into part-time status on the air in recent months.

The talk titan is being remembered as a talk radio pioneer, the savior of AM radio, a persuasive communicator and bombastic entertainer who revolutionized American politics. His showmanship, entertaining style and mastery of the radio medium made him broadcast radio’s most successful talk show host, while becoming one of the most recognized, powerful people in the world.

With “talent on loan from God,” which was one his opening comments, Limbaugh’s legacy includes establishing the political-news talk-radio format and his ability to shape political discourse using his brilliant, quick-witted mind and a microphone.

San Diego radio broadcasters and talk-show hosts, universal in their respect of El Rushbo’s enduring impact over the airwaves, shared their thoughts about the undisputed king of talk radio with Times of San Diego.

  • “We all owe a debt of gratitude to Rush. He was transformational and seismic for talk radio and the AM radio band,” said Mark Larson, heard on iHeart Media’s KGB 760-AM. “He blazed the trail and bucked the trends. Even my liberal friends appreciated his sense of humor. After every election cycle, the critics would say that it’s all over for talk radio. But they were wrong thanks to the first amendment. Rush’s legacy will be his example of stepping up for liberty, freedom and free speech for as long as you’re breathing.”
  • “His information was phenomenal, he always had his finger on the pulse,” said Carl DeMaio, heard on KOGO AM-600. “He was blunt, candid and honest and willing to speak truth. He wasn’t just nasty fire and brimstone. Rather, he gave you ideas on what to do to make the world a better place. The liberal media hated him, never understood him and never respected him. And, despite the left hating him, he wasn’t vindictive. He rolled with the punches and was a happy warrior.”
  • “I have never been so affected by the death of someone I have never met,” said Andrea Kaye, heard on KCBQ 1170-AM The Answer. “In a cancel culture that increases its punishment on those who dare to speak a message of conservatism, he showed continued courage. At a time when even comedy is under attack, he had a sense of humor and reminded us not to take it all so seriously. He made conservatism understandable for all ages, accessible and even cool. He was more than a conservative voice behind a golden microphone, but a mentor, inspiration and an example of a lifelong proud American.”
  • “What made Rush so special was the pure enjoyment he displayed while engaging in critical analysis of the extreme liberal wings of politics and pop culture, all the while, proudly espousing unabashed conservative values as a better path,” said Lou Penrose, heard on KOGO AM-600 and KGB 760-AM.

Limbaugh’s show was the most listened to in the U.S., according to Nielsen Audio, reaching more than 20 million monthly listeners on more than 650 affiliates as of the end of 2020.

According to Premiere Networks, which distributes the show, “The Rush Limbaugh Show” will continue in the short term with archived segments. Premiere said guests hosts, including Mark Steyn, Todd Herman and Ken Matthews, who helped fill in while Limbaugh underwent cancer treatment, will now guide the show using Limbaugh’s predominant voice in various segments on topics related to the current news.

In a statement, Premiere said, “Rush’s voice will continue to be heard, providing comfort and continued insight to his legions of loyal fans. All of Rush’s audio has been extensively archived and cataloged by subject, topic and opinion. His producers will be able to pull segments that are relevant for each day’s news cycle and allow us to feature the best of Rush for the full three hours of the program.”

Padres Marketing Execs Leave ‘Dream Job’ to Write Their Own Story

Wayne Partello and Katie Jackson

Wayne Partello, previously the Padres’ senior VP and chief marketing officer, and Katie Jackson, previously VP of marketing, both left the ballclub at the end of last year but waited to publicly announce their firm Cuento Marketing until mid-February.

“Katie and I started having conversations a few years ago on what it would look like if we left what some people would consider a dream job and committed full time to building our own business,” Partello told Times of San Diego. “Our decision to leave the Padres had everything to do with what was going on in our world, not in their world.

“I’m really excited to watch the Padres be very successful this year and beyond. But, I was ready for a change. I’m ready to scratch an entrepreneurial itch I’ve had for years. Katie and I worked well together during the seven years with the ballclub and now we’re excited to use everything we have done in our careers to tell our clients’ stories.”

So far this year, Cuento has done projects for Ballast Point Brewing, Eat the Frog Fitness, C3 Insurance and RDM Group.

“My job with the Padres was to help define and guide and serve as the guardian of the brand,” Jackson said. “It was an incredible journey with the Padres, but I am ready to build something new. I love bringing ideas to life. I love the planning and execution. Now, I’m excited to take the leap with Cuento.”

Partello joined the Padres in October 2013 after four years (2010-2013) with the Miami Dolphins. With the Padres, he oversaw marketing, creative services, communications, entertainment and production, broadcasting and content. Prior to joining the Dolphins, Partello spent 11 years at Entercom Communications in his hometown of Boston in a variety of marketing and digital media roles, including work with the Boston Red Sox radio network.

Jackson joined the Padres in March 2014. Prior to the Padres, she served for two years (2012-2014) as advertising, sponsorship and sales manager of Active Network, a provider of event management software and marketing services for running races, camps, schools and universities. She also spent two years (2012-2013) as strategic marketing manager with Sports Illustrated and five years (2006-2011) with the Kansas City Chiefs in various roles, including video production coordinator, group sales manager and corporate events sales manager.

 “We picked the name of our marketing consultancy because of the relationship between brand and story,” said Jackson. “We believe your brand is the story you want attached to your business in the eyes of consumers. In order to build a brand, it is crucial to define the story that’s unique to your business and then, unapologetically, go after making that story a reality.”

“Words have meaning,” said Partello, “and I love picking a word that that says something in one simple term. As story-tellers, we wanted a word that crosses borders and boundaries, especially since I worked in Miami as well as San Diego. Cuento felt right to both of us.”

Partello and Jackson will host a webinar for the International Association of Business Communicators San Diego chapter from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25, over the Zoom video-conferencing platform. The presentation is titled “The Three B’s: Beer, Baseball and Brand.” For more event information, visit http://sandiego.iabc.com/

“We’re looking forward to the webinar when we’ll share a few stories, our business philosophy and the challenges we faced during the very different 2020 pandemic year,” said Partello.

The Mightier 1090 Debuts ‘Browner & Burt Show’

“The Browner & Burt Show,” featuring former San Diego Chargers defensive end Burt Grossman and veteran radio talk-show producer John Browner, is the newest sports-talk show to debut on XEPRS 1090-AM, The Mightier 1090. The show airs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays.

Grossman played college football at the University of Pittsburgh before being selected by the Chargers in the 1989 draft. He played six season in the National Football League, including five (1989-1993) for the Chargers and one (1994) for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Browner, referred to as “Brown Man,” is part of the “Kaplan & Crew” show with Scott Kaplan heard from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays on 1090-AM. Browner pursued a brief rap career as the artist formerly known as “Snatch.” After spotted at a local pickup game on the south side of Chicago, Browner was signed to play on the basketball team at Benedictine College, a private Roman Catholic university in Lisle, Ill.

“We are excited to add another local show to our ever-growing lineup,” said Bill Hagen, station operator. “John and Burt will bring a very unique and entertaining show to the big 1090 stick.”

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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