TV Beat: Father inspired KFTV anchor
Longtime KFTV (Channel 21.1) reporter Reina Cardenas recently moved into the anchor chair for the local Spanish-language television station’s 6 and 11 p.m. news. She says she thinks about her father, Agustin, whenever she does a news story.
“I remember when I was a kid, he always wanted to watch the news and we wanted to watch cartoons on the only TV in the house. We would compromise and he would watch the national and local news and then we would get the TV,” Cardenas says. “I would sit with him while he watched the news. I think that’s where I got the idea about a career in news.”
Cardenas replaces KFTV evening anchor Sayra Vasquez, who is now co-hosting with Lupita Lomeli on the KFTV morning show “Arriba Valle Central.” Vasquez decided to move to the earlier job because of family demands.
Along with getting the coveted evening anchor job, Cardenas was honored last week by the city of Sanger as “an example of hard work, taking advantage of the education system and achieving her dreams.”
Cardenas grew up in the small community as part of a farm worker family that immigrated from Michoacan, Mexico. She started picking grapes and doing other farm work when she was 10.
The 1991 Sanger High School graduate went on to study mass communication at UCLA, making the Dean’s List before graduating in 1995.
She returned home in 1997 to work at KFTV.
She was nominated in 2007 for an individual Emmy Award for a story she did about a Valley resident who was reunited with his parents in Mexico whom he had not seen in almost 20 years. Cardenas also was awarded the Communicator Award for Excellence in Journalism for a report on board the USS Constellation.
“It really feels like a dream and I often have to pinch myself considering my background,” she says. “A lot of people see you on TV and they assume that’s where you have always been.”
Getting to the top took a lot of hard work and support from family, friends and teachers. Cardenas likes to talk about how she was able to achieve her dream as a way of giving hope to youngsters who might have doubts about their future. She is quick to tell young people they can do whatever they want, no matter their background.
Her biggest supporters continue to be her parents. Her father, who now lives in Mexico, was carried around on the shoulders of fellow workers when she did her first news report on KFTV. Her mother, Esperanza, feels close to the entire KFTV news team because her daughter is part of the group.
It wasn’t until recently that Cardenas realized the significance of her mother’s name.
“It translates to ‘hope.’ I think it is a great honor to her name that I became a reporter,” Cardenas says.
A film crew from the NBC series “The Biggest Loser” was at Dry Creek Park in Clovis on Sunday, Feb. 10, to film a local family’s journey with childhood obesity. It will be part of the reality show’s “Challenge America” campaign and is scheduled to air just before this year’s finale.
Breanna Bond, a 10-year-old from Clovis, weighed almost 200 pounds one year ago. But with family support, she has lost 72 pounds. In an effort to give back to their community, the family started a Sunday afternoon walking group with the goal of letting other families know they are not alone in their battle against obesity.
The mission of this year’s “The Biggest Loser” has been to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic by featuring young participants (ages 13-17) for the first time, in addition to adult contestants.
The California Center for Public Health Advocacy estimates 42.7% of children are overweight or obese in Fresno County, compared to 38% in the state.
Pack your knives
An 11th season of the Bravo reality competition show “Top Chef” has been ordered, and open calls for chefs interested in competing in the high-stakes culinary competition series have started.
The closest place to show off your cooking skills is at The Foundry on Melrose in Los Angeles. Tryouts will be held there 10 a.m.-noon March 1.
For additional casting information and to download an application, go to BravoTV.com/casting.
By Rick Bentley