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KPIX At 70: Remembering Newscaster Stan Bohrman

KPIX was first television station to hit the airwaves in Northern California and the Bay Area and over the decades, we've had an amazing team of anchors and reporters who informed our viewers about the news, weather and sports.

One of our favorite on-air personalities who had the brains, the looks, and the voice was Stan Bohrman. He was a talk show host, an investigative reporters, and in the mid-70s on KPIX, our top newscaster.

"Stan Bohrman was in my mind the best or one of the best anchors KPIX ever had," said David Bohrman, Stan's son.

While David may harbor a bias in favor of his dad, take a listen to Stan. Folks said he could read a phone book, and make it sound important. But this guy was much more than a voice. As an investigative journalist, he was always in control of the facts.

"There were teleprompter, but he was more comfortable without scripts. He understood the story and why it was important," recalled David.

Before his gig at KPIX, Bohrman hosted a daytime talk show in Los Angeles, called "Tempo". His co-hosts were Regis Philbin and Maria Cole, the widow of Nat "King" Cole.

Tempo was cutting edge, fast-paced, and controversial. Bohrman brought a very liberal voice to television. Many of his guests were against the Vietnam War.

Former U.S. military analyst Daniel Ellsberg was on one notable show. Ellsberg released the top secret Pentagon Papers.

The legendary entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. showed up, and got into quite an interesting discussion regarding race, society and the entertainment world.

At KPIX, Bohrman left his politics at the door. On the news desk, he stood out for his smarts.

"He made a mark on KPIX and the people who were around really watched him, and really cared about it," said his son David Bohrman.

While newsrooms were not yet computerized, the technology was quickly evolving. Live camera remotes took off. KPIX News called it the "Instant Eye"

"The Instant Eyes, which were live remote cams, it opened up a whole new world of news coverage for the city", explained David Bohrman.

A famous example: the Presidential Debate on October 6, 1976. The candidates President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter squared off at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. KPIX had Instant Eyes at the Palace, and at the location of both the candidates' viewing parties. At the helm, orchestrating it all: Stan Bohrman.

Another historic live remote occurred one year earlier, as the Vietnam War drew to a close. The location: Oakland International Airport. Viewers saw Andy Park on the tarmac, as he informed viewers of what was happening.

A DC-8 cargo plane had just landed. On board: 57 Vietnamese babies and children who were believed abandoned or orphaned. On Channel 5 airwaves, viewers saw them slowly being carried off the plane and into the arms of volunteers. The operation became known as "Operation Babylift".

KPIX was the only television station capable of going live and carrying the images to our viewers in their homes.

"In addition to the live, exclusive coverage we just had, we have 3 film crews out there," intoned Stan Bohrman from his anchor desk.

Stan Bohrman left Channel 5 to get off the anchor desk and delve more deeply into investigative reporting.

At KYW, our sister station in Philadelphia, in one of his investigative masterpieces, he had an epic showdown with former Mayor Frank Rizzo. The newsman and his team exposed how Rizzo used police officers to do his personal chores, at taxpayer expense. Rizzo tried to smash a hidden camera, but the footage survived.

As for David Bohrman, he is a chip off the old block.

"I've been able to produce some of the great amazing events over the past 40 years on all networks," explained David Bohrman.

Bohrman is in the news business. He actually interned at KPIX while he was an undergraduate at Stanford University.

David has created almost a dozen new national TV news programs and has helped to lead a top to bottom redesign of how major networks cover elections. He urged Nightline to go "live" on Mount Everest, which the show did. During the 2008 Presidential election, David introduced the use of the Magic Wall at CNN as well as the historic first 'real-time" holograms where correspondents and Black Eyed Pea's was beamed onto the set to talk with Anderson Cooper.

David Bohrman tips his hat to his dad.

"He was just great on the air, a great broadcaster," said David.

Stan Bohrman died in 1994.

As a footnote, when the hit television show "The Streets of San Francisco" was filmed in the Bay Area in the 70s, one of the stars -- Michael Douglas -- watched Bohrman on KPIX. Douglas later cast Bohrman in his movie called The China Syndrome". Bohrman played a television news anchor.

Stan Bohrman
David Bohrman

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