Valley Broadcast Legends Oral History Project
The Center for Sacramento History, in partnership with the Valley Broadcast Legends, has opened for research five video oral history interviews of notable Sacramento broadcasters. The video oral histories chronicle and explore five broadcaster’s careers.
The project was made possible by funding from Elliott Troshinsky of KCRA/KQCA TV; Capitol Public Radio; and Rick Eytcheson and Linda Laird Eytcheson, Sacramento.
Interviewing the video career history subjects were Steve Swatt, formerly political correspondent for KCRA TV; Deborah Pacyna formerly reporter for KXTV TV; Jim Drennan, formerly assignment editor for KXTV TV and KCRA TV; Beth Ruyak, formerly reporter and anchor for KCRA TV; and Vic Biondi, a reporter/anchor at KCRA TV and Capitol Bureau Chief in Sacramento for KNBC TV Burbank. All video photography and post-production editing was donated by Cyndy Green, formerly a news photojournalist in the KOVR TV Stockton bureau. Vic Biondi managed the yearlong project.
Atkinson’s career as a television news reporter in California’s major media markets spanned 50 years. He covered news worldwide, traveling to 18 countries for in-depth special television reports that became one of the hallmarks of his career. Stan worked as a producer, writer, reporter, and television news program anchor, and was also a co-owner of Channel 50 Television in Santa Rosa, California. The interview took place January 12, 2017 and was recorded by Steve Swatt as part of the Valley Broadcast Legends Oral Histories project.
Cable began his broadcast career as a triple-duty radio announcer, deejay, and newscaster. Beginning in 1958, he worked as a broadcast news reporter for more than a decade in Colorado, Oregon, and Wyoming radio, and in Idaho television. From 1969-1998 he worked for Sacramento’s KXTV Channel 10, where he was the main news anchor for all the station’s prime time newscasts, and authored and broadcast Cable’s Comments, a regularly scheduled news commentary show on major public issues. The interview took place January 15, 2017 and was recorded by Deborah Pacyna as part of the Valley Broadcast Legends Oral Histories project.
Coppola spent almost a half-century in broadcasting, including as a successful sales executive. He first worked for Armed Forces Radio in Korea for two years, then spent the rest of his career with Sacramento’s KCRA AM/KCTC FM. At the time of Lou’s retirement in 1996, KCRA AM had been sold and was KGNR AM. Lou created two audience on-air promotion programs in the ʼ80s and ʼ90s, a worldwide travel talk program and the staging of big band music dances with the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey Legend bands. After retiring, Lou founded the Northern California Big Band Music Preservation Society, which staged monthly dances featuring local Sacramento bands and orchestras. The interview took place April 12, 2017 and was recorded by Vic Biondi as part of the Valley Broadcast Legends Oral Histories project.
Fein was one of Sacramento television’s first female news video photographers. She worked at KCRA TV in Sacramento for 10 years, first as an intern and then as a staff news photographer and video editor. Before that, she studied at UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, and UCLA, earning a degree in anthropology. Her anthropology training and news coverage came together to allow her to “document her culture.” Today Anita works as a full-time still photographer. The interview took place February 10, 2017 and was recorded by Beth Ruyak as part of the Valley Broadcast Legends Oral Histories project.
Shaw spent 50 years in California radio and television as a radio personality, sales manager, program producer, and journalist. He wrote and reported for newspapers and magazines as well. Walt was a program director and popular deejay host on KRAK AM Sacramento, a major country station, where he was known as Uncle Walty. He also produced and hosted an hour-long farm radio broadcast six days a week. The interview took place January 31, 2017 and was recorded by Jim Drennan as part of the Valley Broadcast Legends Oral Histories project.