This month KSBY is marking 65 years on the air. Over the next four weeks we will be looking back at some of the stories we’ve covered. But today we’re checking in with some of the faces who’ve brought you those stories; one from 50 years ago and then other from 30 years ago.
In 1988, KSBY was celebrating 35 years on the air and a special report showed viewers what it took to gather and broadcast the days news. The station used to do it’s newscast from on top of Cuesta Peak from a room in the transmitter building. The film and scripts were produced down in San Luis Obispo but then driven up the grade for the broadcast. Dave Garth was the news director in 1968.
"So every night in order to do the news we prepared the news and then drove it up to Cuesta peak," said Garth.
Fifty years later, he’s still on the central coast and says overall, not much has changed. "Generally speaking, KSBY and the newspaper were the glue that held the community together. Because there was a commonality of interests and people could say oh did you see that on TV last night," said Garth.
Lynn Diehl was hired as a reporter back in 1985 and later added anchor duties to her resume. She spent more than a decade bringing stories to Central Coast viewers. "Yes, that’s what you learn over the years how to take everything that comes at you and put it into some meaningful form," said Diehl.
She went on to work in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco. She says the storytelling has stayed consistent over the years, but the way people get their news is changing, especially with social media. "The news we did then we had time to really do in-depth reporting even though it was challenging, but the news cycle now turns over – something you do now might be knocked out later on today," said Diehl.
Kelsey McFarland is a current reporter and weekend anchor at the station. She agrees and says it’s not just about the broadcast anymore. "Now we’re hearing digital first, digital first so I’m looking for those visual elements that would do well on social media. I feel like half the day I’m thinking about how I can engage social media followers and friends and how I can turn this story. Of course when I come back I’m also writing this story for the web," said McFarland.
All three agree what has changed is the technology. Cameras are a fraction of the size. Live shots that took an engineer and a microwave link are now sent back to the station via cell phone signal. But what hasn’t changed is the commitment to news which dates back to the earliest newscasts.
"Our dedication was to do the best job we could and get the stories and we were interested in good journalism so that part I don’t think has changed," said Garth.
The tools may be different; the faces may have changed but the goal remains the same, keeping our viewers informed.