Thursday, August 26, 2010

How McElhatton got into TV: reluctantly

Dave McElhatton
Former KPIX news director Joseph Russin wrote the following letter in today's Chronicle:
    I read with extreme sadness of the passing of Dave McElhatton ("Respected TV and radio news anchor," Aug. 25). 
    As your story says, Dave was one of the sweetest people in the business. He was not, however, immediately enthusiastic about television. I was news director at KPIX and wanted an anchor knowledgeable about the area and able to beat Van Amburg at KGO. I had heard Dave on KCBS radio for years and felt he was perfect. He thought he might flop on TV. 
    The folks at Westinghouse also were less enchanted. Dave, they thought, had a face for radio and was overweight for TV. Good sport that he always was, Dave agreed to a series of secret training sessions and auditions on camera. We met in motel rooms at Fisherman's Wharf, hoping no one would see us. 
    Dave proved to be so likable on camera that KPIX management was willing to sign him. And Dave launched himself on an eight-glasses-of-water-a-day diet to become camera-svelte. 
    That completed the package: a wonderful man whose good nature burst through the camera and whose knowledge and judgment could always be relied on. 
    Joseph Russin, Glendale

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