Say It Ain’t So, Mr. Kittle

Erica Holloway Erica Holloway 1 Comment

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Yesterday, in the midst of a crazy day in public relations, KUSI’s Bob Kittle revealed to me that next Friday will be his last day after a year at the helm.

He’s going to stay on as a political contributor, but he wants to write a book – a biography.

“The Legend Behind the Bowtie,” I said. He laughed warmly and generously.

Our little world experienced quite a shock in 2009 when he was rather unceremoniously turned out amid the years of lean growing leaner in the print journalism world.

Few such characters exist in San Diego news these days and his was the highest profile face the San Diego Union-Tribune had in my years in journalism and later, politics.

Throughout my North County Times tenure, he was a formidable editorial writer who seemed to have a well-connected pulse on the issues of the day regardless of subject matter. Relevant, timely and a fine writer. Many felt him abrasive or elitist, but never shy of controversy – his “voice” at the UT gave the news organization its identity.

Mr. Kittle views favored development, the business world and of course, conservatives. In a fairly Blue Dog city, his stance often ruffled feathers. But he did not suffer from keyboard courage – Mr. Kittle had just as much bite as bark even while going toe-to-toe with elected officials.

I’ve agreed with him more than not, but there were some issues – such as his support of dual commercial and military flight use at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station – that left me scratching my head.

My first experience with him on the other side of the pen caught me by surprise.

As I headed off to a public meeting, my Blackberry rang and the name came up as “Bob Kittle” – not because we were friends, but I often stalked him for opinion-editorial space. He was calling to ask if Senator Hollingsworth, as vice chair of the Senate Budget Committee, would be willing to write a pro/con piece on the state budget opposite “Chris.”

“What Senator in San Diego is named ‘Chris?’ ” I asked.

“Sorry, Senator Kehoe,” he said, formally.

I’ve never had the guts to call a lawmaker anything but their official title in public. Bob’s a gutsy guy. He does his job his way – for better or worse – you get him.

His hair cut, suit style and of course, the bow-tie make him an easily recognizable figure. He’s taken his share of hits and wins over the years.

I shared that I felt he made a positive impact on programming at KUSI, such as the monthly round table, which I hope to see become more regular. He thanked me and said he enjoyed his time at the station.

I certainly wish him well in his future endeavors and as always, hope that he doesn’t disappear from view in San Diego.

Also, Mr. Kittle, I thought of two more biography titles this morning: “Of Bowties and Men” and “Tuesdays with My Bowtie.”

You’re welcome.

– Follow me @erica_holloway.

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Comments 1

  1. I have to admit that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Bob Kittle’s short tenure in television news. He’s done a lot to forge a strong identity for KUSI and given a generous amount of airtime to critically important issues facing San Diego. Save only NBC San Diego, there wasn’t another station that gave more time to the critically important Proposition D campaign last fall than KUSI. It’s rare to find a television station making this kind of commitment anymore. I’m sorry to see him leave day to day operations, but I’m heartened he won’t be leaving entirely.

    I hope his successor(s) at KUSI carry on with the direction he’s established.

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