Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ten Years Since the Death of Veteran Bay Area TV News Anchor Pete Wilson

Image result for Pete Wilson death  THURSDAY marks the ten-year anniversary of the sudden death of Bay Area veteran anchorman, Pete Wilson. I'm shaking a bit because I still can't believe it's been ten years and I'm still stunned to this day that Pete is no longer with us.

Pete spent the bulk of his career in San Francisco and Sacramento. He made his mark here at KRON in its affiliated NBC days and then moved over to KGO-TV and KGO Radio as an up-and-coming talk-show host. He had an entertaining show and was a great interviewer. As the San Jose Merc noted about his talk-show work:


"Wilson’s goal was to be a moderate in a minefield of talk-radio extremists. Sticking neither to Democratic nor Republican party lines, he seemed like a normal guy in a world of cartoonish blowhards." 

But his legacy was built largely on his TV News work; a dedicated, passionate, compelling newsman with quite a bit of gusto and pizazz. Wilson could not only read the teleprompter well; he was equally adept as an ad-libber and breaking news,  no matter how chaotic, no matter how unpredictable, he was usually spot on and could take charge on a moment's notice. In an environment today where simple thinking can sometimes present huge troubles for even the most seasoned TV News reader, Wilson was adept and ready for any challenge presented him. It's a cliche but it's so apt here: Pete Wilson was a pro's pro.

Some hard-nosed journalists can often be difficult to work for and with; not so the case with Pete Wilson. He was widely respected and well-liked in the newsroom both at KRON and KGO. He was also, according to people I talked to over the years, a "very nice man" always going over to lower-level staffers and offering feedback and advice. In fact, I've never heard a bad story about Pete Wilson. That's saying a lot in an industry as heated as the TV News business.

31 comments:

  1. He was the TRUE "voice of reason" when KGO held their Talk Show Host discussions.
    He was always level headed and kept the Lion Pedophile and the "Late Night Italian" and a few others from shouting Mr. Mattreess down all night long.

    A CLASS ACT some KGO/KSFO gabbers can learn a thing or two from listening to his old tapes.
    R_P

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    1. Don't you mean the late night George Takei-iaferro? Oh myyyyyy

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    2. lol@thinking Taliaferro is Italian. #1 you're an idiot. #2 penis envy?

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    3. @4:44 anonymous...lol
      I put late night Italian in quotation marks so even an idiot could pick up the sarcasm.
      Apparently I underestimated you.
      As for penis envy, just what does Ray's look like so I can decide if I should be envious?

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  2. I remember it as if it was yesterday. When I heard the awful news I ran home and hugged my kids.
    It was sad because he was like a favorite pet to us...a part of the family.

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  3. Miss Pete Wilson. In the upper Echelon with Van Amburg, Dennis Richmond and Dave Mcelhatton. We don't have those types anymore.

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  4. He was a pleasure of a co-worker and friend. And to see big hulking Pete trying, and failing, to intimidate my 10-13 year old son, was always a hoot.
    I remember his last KGO broadcast, on hospital mishaps.
    Kina hora.

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  5. Pete was the heart of the station at that time.
    Similar to how Bill O'Reily was the heart of Fox during his tenure.
    Both careers coming to unfortunate and premature conclusions.

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    1. Don't even compare the class act Wilson to blowhard, sexual predator O'Reilly. Not even in the same league.

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    2. O'Reilly, premature?! Given his proclivity for sexual harassment, he is damn lucky he lasted as long as he did. And the same goes for the real heart of FNN during that era, Roger Ailes.

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  6. I still have Pete's last broadcast here on my computer. Listening to it after the fact, it's like a haunting prediction. Very sad.

    We miss you Pete.

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  7. Only 10 years? Seems like 20. And "a really nice man"??? As someone who suffered daily working with him during "The Chase is On" years at KRON, let me assure you he was an arrogant, self-infatuated, pompous ass. 25 years in the industry and I met very few people as condescending and unpleasant as Wilson. I'd never wish death on anyone and know his family misses him deeply. But I sure don't.

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  8. I met Pete and the gang at the KGO debate, where Pete was getting hassled and interrupted by Ray T.... After the event he and the Bolshevik Ray T. were about to get into it in the parking lot.

    But Ed Baxter got in between the two and good old Ray ran away like a little bitch. Big mouth behind the mic but can't back up the talk. LMAO.

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    1. @854pm..Bullshit story there, Skippy. More fake news by Trump's deplorables.

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  9. From KGO to KRON to KGO main anchor spot and then, Dan Ashley took over his spot. Time flies and with today station management, I wonder will any main anchor reporter get to work until the day they retired or force to give up their spot due to personal, health or relocation reasons. Not too many for each station when their years of hard work and position becomes in jeopardy with today management of no respect for the veteran reporters.

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  10. All fellow anchors gave Wilson the proper respect at both KGO (two stints) and KRON. Unlike O'Reilly, Wilson was always a voice of reason. It was a massive heart attack on a Friday morning, I believe. Even Owens four years before he became Ronnnnnnn in 2011 took this one very hard. That's how respected Pete Wilson was. Handled the biggest egos very well (Giddings the first KGO stint; the Bentley, Wayne Shannon, and a few others at KRON; maybe one or two or more the second KGO stint). Best stint was with still-at-KRON Pam Moore (great chemistry at 11).

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  11. Unlike Bill. Pete did nothing wrong. Nothing like BillyO. Nothing similar.

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  12. Pete has been gone 10 years, and in October it will be 12 years since Bill King left us. Yes, those sad facts are still stunningly hard to believe.

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  13. I remember his last show before his surgery. He kept commenting how he had a bad feeling about it! A basic hip replacement and he died during surgery, a bad heart

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    1. Yes, I was working at the station that day. He was clearly nervous.

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  14. Pete Wilson died on an operating table in his sixties of cardiac arrest at the beginning of elective surgery. He didn't know what hit him. Fortunately he never had to endure any lengthy illnesses. His best attribute was the anchorman voice, heard for years in both Sacramento and San Francisco. It also made him the least interesting of the KGO hosts. News anchors, because of their jobs, can't ever take strong, opinionated positions on anything. He was a purveyor of pablum,not the voice of "reason", but rather a host who had to be very careful of what he said. In those days, KGO had a functioning, real newsroom and all the hosts took lots of callers. You listened to KGO because it kept you up to speed on what was happening now, not like today's incomprehensible "lifestyle" format. Wilson often presented himself as the voice of the "baby-boomers", but he was ironically too old to be a baby boomer. He was also reliably misogynistic, and a master of the endless audible sigh. The most interesting person on KGO then was not Pete Wilson, but rather the less predictable, edgier types. He may have been the most wonderful, loving human since sliced bread,I didn't know him. But that show was white bread, only.None of us gets out of this alive, but revisionist glorification because someone has died is just silly.

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  15. Nothing but respect and admiration for Pete, he was all class.

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    1. Never worked with him, huh?

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  16. Rich---Your comments are right on and appreciated by me who knew Pete and his family socially and professionally. He was a gem!

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  17. I started working with Pete in 1973 at WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee, WI. When I moved to KRON in '78, he moved to Sacramento shortly after. We worked together again at KRON. We remained close when I moved to Nashville in 2000. He was a big brother to me. He was big, bold, well-read and could be soft as a marshmallow. When my husband got Stage 4 cancer, Pete and his wife's help contributed to saving our home. We will miss him for the rest of our lives.

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  18. I remember driving home listening to his very last show. He was talking about his operation and how hearing his listener's story made him feel a bit better about what he was to face....the next day he passed away. Shocking!!!!!

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  19. It is sad that Pete Wilson passed away, but he was quite annoying as a talk-show host. He never took firm positions, and he made every issue appear a lot more complicated than it perhaps had to be.

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  20. I remember the lady announcer coming on crying that Saturday during the news update on kgo. I also remember barbara rodgers announcing that Doug Murphy died in a fire, she was steady until the end.

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  21. I remember his last show as well, it was clear he was nervous. As for his talk show, to 8:04 it is really a matter of opinion. For the most part I liked his shows, sometimes he had guests on I didn't care about, my favorites at that time was Gene Burns and John Rothmann, basically tied, then Ronn and Pete, also a tie. Gil Gross took over after Pete, and in the beginning he was okay, but got worse and worse, especially when he ended up on 910. As for Pete being a baby boomer, I was born in January 1945, and I guess to be a baby boomer you have to be born in 1946, but I consider myself a baby boomer. Everything that is associated with the that generation was part of my youth, Beatles,(and many other bands, the Who, Dylan, the Doors) the Kennedy's, Woodstock, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war, and the demonstrations against the war. The Manson murders, The TV shows, Johnny Carson, Laugh In, the Smother Brothers, I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I suppose there were women of my generation that perhaps married young and lived in the suburbs, might not have felt part of some of that. However, as a young single women living in Connecticut in 67 and 68 and after that in New York City for a number of years, I very much felt part of it, as did all of my friends.

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  22. dear 10:09...it's very easy to discover if you are or are not a "baby boomer".Remember WWII? use your google.

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  23. I'm not sure I understand your comment. I was born in January of 1945 in Denmark. Denmark was still occupied by the Germans (until May 4, 45). So no I don't "remember" WWII. I do however know a lot about WWII, personal stories from my parents (who hid a fugitive from Gestapo for 6 month) and my aunt and uncle. I have read numerous books both fiction and non fiction, I'm a bit of a history buff, and watch numerous show on the History Channel and other channels about the war, and the holocaust. Some of my favorite movies are, From here to Eternity, The Longest Day, The young Lions (have all 3 books as well). Please clarify what you mean by your comment? As I said technically those of us born in 1945 are not consider baby boomers, but I think most of us consider our selves to be such, based on the experiences noted in my first comments.

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