Frank Somerville

I grew up in Berkeley during the 1960’s.
It was a crazy time.

I saw the anti-war protests and the free speech movement first hand.

I was also part of school busing and integration.

I’d like to say it was easy.
But it wasn’t.
However in the end I think all those experiences made me a better person.
They helped me see the world differently.

And that is turn has helped make me a better reporter and anchor.

I started my career at a small station in Santa Rosa, California.

Two years later, I moved to KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.

I’d been there three months and it was -80 with the wind-chill.

It’s impossible to describe how cold that is.

Let's just say as a California native, I didn’t exactly “thrive” in Minnesota.

I then went to WJAR-TV in Rhode Island.

It was a fascinating place to work.

But I always wanted to get back to the Bay Area.

And getting hired at KTVU is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

During the course of my career, I’ve witnessed two executions at San Quentin.
I’ve watched an autopsy being performed.
And I've flown with the Blue Angels.

I had two goals that day.
Don’t throw up and don’t faint.
Unfortunately I only achieved one of them.
I didn’t faint.

But the story that affected me the most was when I interviewed Jack Grandcolas.
His wife Lauren was on Flight 93 during the September 11th attacks.

I will always be honored that he offered to let me hear the phone message that she left him after her plane had been hijacked.

She kept wanting to say, “And I’ll talk to you …”, but she couldn’t finish the sentence.
She couldn’t say “I’ll talk to you later” because she knew she was going to die.
It was beyond heartbreaking listening to her talk.

In the past year or so I've also gone, on my own time, to the funerals of five people who were murdered in the Bay Area.

All of them were open casket.
One of them was a one year-old boy.
It’s the tiniest casket I’ve ever seen.

I wanted to go those funerals because they are a sobering reminder that the words we use on the air are about real people and real life situations.

What we say matters.
What we say is important.
And what we say affects people.
I don’t ever want to forget that.

I also wanted the families to know that I care about the stories we cover.
That I’m not just reading them.

On the personal side, I’ve been a vegetarian for 45 years.
No meat, fish or poultry.

I stopped eating meat at age 12, because I didn’t want to kill animals.

I train in Krav Maga.
It’s an Israeli martial art.
And believe me, it’s way outside my comfort zone.
But I like to challenge myself.
I like to try things that make me nervous.

My wife is a former television producer.
She worked on the Joan Rivers Show and the Phil Donahue Show.
And if you follow basketball, her brother is Jay Wright, the head basketball coach for the Villanova Wildcats.

I’m not much of a basketball fan.
I’m more into hockey and Formula 1 racing.
Nothing is better than an F1 race on Sunday.
Unfortunately every time I have racing on, all I hear from my two daughters is:
“Dad will you please turn that down!”

My daughters are 16 and 10.
My youngest daughter is also adopted.
And she happens to be black.

I say that because adoption is such an important part of my life.
In fact every night when I get home, I poke my head in my daughters room.
And I always think the same thing:
Even though we don’t look alike.
She’s my daughter.
And I’m her dad.
And that’s pretty special.

During my career I’ve won five Emmys.
Awards are nice, but they really don’t mean that much to me.

What’s important is being able to do stories that make a difference.
That’s why I got into this business in the first place.
And it’s what I’m most proud of.

Connect with Frank

Facebook: Frank Somerville KTVU 


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