After 30 years, KGTV engineer Frank Cruz is hanging it up this Friday. Frank, 65, has been with McGraw-Hill’s channel 10 for the past 10 years. Before that, he spent 20 years at channel 39.
Frank came to broadcast engineering somewhat accidently. He says he had been working as electronic technician at Southcomm International (purchased later by Loral), where he tested and set-up backpack transmitters for the government. He took some classes at Palomar College where he learned there was an opening at KCST (now KNSD). He jumped at the chance to do something new, and found out that he loved the variety of duties there. Under Tom Wimberly, who himself retired last year from McGraw-Hill, Frank specialized in ENG repair and operations, working with Umatic decks, Plumbicon cameras, and their fleet of remote vehicles.
While he liked bench work, he has fond memories of challenging field operations, such as when they would set-up an ad hoc microwave network across the desert from San Diego Padre Baseball spring training camp in Arizona to Chocolate Mountain near the California border, to Laguna Mountain, aiming to Mt. San Miguel for relay to their studio in Kearny Mesa. They used only BMS portable ENG equipment and 6-foot dishes.
When NBC had a reduction-in-force in 2000, Frank took a job under Ron Eden’s supervision at KGTV the very next workday. He continued specializing in ENG maintenance and operations, but took over much of the transmitter care at Mt. Soledad when Eden left. Frank ceremonially signed off the analog transmitter in March of 2009 for the last time.
Frank plans to “take it easy for at least the next six months” with Rebecca, his wife of 42 years.
KGTV is honoring his retirement with a luncheon this week.