San Francisco native Ken Bastida was born in the city’s Mission District. He attended high school at El Camino High in South San Francisco where he was first bitten by the broadcast bug. As a student in the telecommunications class, he was allowed to take home a camera. “I really wanted to be a cameraman and shoot sports,” he remembers.
Ken earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications from San Francisco State University. In 2007, he was inducted into the University’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
During his undergraduate years, a friend told him about an internship at KFRC Radio. Ken quickly worked his way up from the mailroom to the news room.
He started by recording simple voiceovers for the Sales Department before eventually producing his first radio story for the News Department. He quickly learned to edit stories using a razor blade to splice reel-to-reel tape. “I had a wonderful education at my first radio station and I settled in knowing this is the career that I want.”
Ken eventually had on-air jobs at several Bay Area radio stations including KGO, KMEL, K101 and KCBS Radio.
He says his time behind the mic helped prepare him for work in front of the camera.
“I had these great mentors who were photographers and editors. They answered my questions and showed me how things worked,” he says. “Those guys helped build my career. They were responsible for showing me the way.”
In 1990, Ken was awarded the prestigious George Foster Peabody award for his contributions to KCBS Radio during the ’89 Loma Prieta earthquake.
For four seasons, he hosted HGTV’s “Landscape Smart” where he guided homeowners trying to boost their curb appeal. When he showed up for the audition, he was asked to deliver 16 pages of copy that producers said they had sent to his home for him to memorize. He never got them so he winged it and got the job.
Ken joined KPIX 5 in 1990. His longevity here has made him one of the most trusted Bay Area broadcast journalists in the Bay Area.
Ken has garnered many awards including six local Emmys. He was honored for his outstanding achievement in “continuing coverage” for his series, “Inside the Middle East.” He’s also received 15 Emmy nominations by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his outstanding work as an Anchor and Reporter. In addition, Ken has been recognized for excellence by the Associated Press, the Radio and Television News Directors Association and the Peninsula Press Club.
He has been privileged to travel the world, sometimes while on assignment for KPIX 5. Ken’s most memorable reporting trips include his journey to the Middle East covering the Intifada and the building of Israel’s separation border in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. In 1988, he covered Hurricane Iniki, the most powerful hurricane to strike Hawaii in recorded history. Ken also traveled to the Mojave Desert when it was designated a National Park Preserve.
Ken has proven to be a steady presence during major news events. He anchored KPIX 5’s extended live coverage on September 11th as well as special coverage of the San Bruno gas explosion and the Oakland Ghost Ship fire. He also co-anchored the station’s coverage of the Giants World Series parades and anchored live from San Francisco’s Super Bowl City the days leading up to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara.
Ken has a passion for field reporting and breaking news. “I have a lot of respect for the reporters out in the field. You can’t always plan. In breaking news situations, you have to keep calm, go with your gut and trust your instincts,” he emphasizes.
When he’s not working, Ken generously helps friends and family with home remodel projects. “My kids call me Mr. Fixit,” he says.
His hobbies include tinkering with classic cars and cooking. Ken and his wife have two sons, a daughter and two cats named Bob and Sister. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.