Another longtime face in Bay Area news media is leaving the anchor desk, and it's veteran KPIX anchor Ken Bastida. Bastida started at the station in 1990, and he's hanging up the suit and tie and retiring as of the end of October.
"In keeping with a promise I made to my family a few years ago, I will be retiring from broadcasting at the end of October. Life is calling," Bastida said. As KPIX reports, Bastida says he has many dinners with his wife to make up for, having missed most of them for 31 years while he was preparing to deliver the 11 o'clock news.
Bastida's retirement announcement comes quickly on the heels of the abrupt departure of another veteran anchor, Frank Somerville, over at KTVU. Somerville is on an indefinite suspension following a reported disagreement with management over a statement he wanted to make about the dearth of coverage of missing persons of color — in the wake of the national frenzy over the disappearance of Gabby Petito.
And now, as local media blogger Rich Lieberman writes, Bastida's departure "opens the door" for Somerville to step in, which may or may not be something that KPIX wants. Somerville has a significant following, and has been on the anchor desk since 2018 — after the retirement of Dennis Richmond.
Somerville previously disappeared from the KTVU anchor desk without explanation following a Memorial Day Weekend broadcast in which he seemed visibly impaired and slurred his words. He returned in early August.
Bastida has covered some of the biggest Bay Area stories of the past three decades, including the Oakland Hills Fire, which happened in his second year on the job as a reporter at KPIX.
As he recalls this week, "During the Oakland Hills Fire, I got picked up in the chopper and I believe we were the first news aircraft over the scene. The flames were unbelievable."
Bastida also fondly recalls covering the Giants' 2010 World Series win from Texas, saying, "it was crazy."
Stephen Colbert had Bastida on as a guest during the first months of his tenure as host of the Late Show on CBS, in 2015. At the time, Super Bowl 50 was coming up in the Bay Area, and Bastida was telling Colbert to come to SF to do his show, after which Colbert asked Bastida to "sell" him on San Francisco. Bastida replied, "That’s where the Yahoos are and the Googles and the Apples. There is a reason why they are there.”
Bastida is a San Francisco native who attended El Camino High in South San Francisco and San Francisco State University. He has won seven Emmy awards, and he won a George Foster Peabody award for his work at KCBS Radio during the ’89 Loma Prieta earthquake.