SAN FRANCISCO (CBSSF) – After 31 years of covering the daily trials, tribulations and triumphs of those of us who call the San Francisco Bay Area home, veteran KPIX 5 news anchor Ken Bastida decided it was time to step away, take a deep breath and enjoy the natural wonders. in Northern California.
Along the way, Bastida saw the tools of the journalistic trade move from Underwood’s typewriters to cell phones, satellite trucks, and the world of streaming video.
“It started on August 1, 1990,” he said as he prepared for Tuesday’s broadcast. We didn’t even have computers in the newsroom yet – just typewriters. I remember it clearly. I’ve had the good fortune to work and learn from some really talented people. Remember, I came from KCBS Radio and didn’t have much experience in television.”
Bastida’s last broadcast will be this month, wrapping up a great journey.
Along the way, it was a soothing voice at some of the Bay Area’s darkest moments. Fear and growing anxiety after the 9/11 attacks, the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, the 2014 Nappa earthquake and the shooting at last year’s VTA maintenance yard in San Jose.
“During the Oakland Hills fire, I picked up in the helicopter and I think we were the first news aircraft to fly at the scene,” Bastida said. “The fire was incredible.”
He was also there to chronicle the triumphs of the human spirit. Covering paraplegic climber Mark Wellman as he climbs Half Dome.
He said, “Nine days on the rock waiting for him to come out.” “It was surreal.”
While the Giants were preparing for another post-season World Championship tour, Bastida also fondly remembered covering the team’s championship seasons in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
“The Giants won the world championship in 2010, it was in Texas when the final was thrown, it was crazy,” he said. “Victory rallies are covered live in 2010, 2012, 2014. Very happy for the city and the Giants fans.”
Although there will be many awards for excellence along the way, Bastida says it will be the daily interactions with the people he will miss the most. But now is the time to start a new journey in his life.
“In keeping with the promise I made to my family a few years ago,” he said. I will be retiring from broadcasting at the end of October. Life is calling.”
There will be dinner with his wife, children, and grandchildren to make up for the many he’s missed over the years of delivering the 11 p.m. news.
“A farm needs a full-time tractor driver,” he said. “Needless to say, I’ll be very busy.”