Ken Wayne

I took the long way home.

It seems I've been on the move all my life. Even after returning I've lived in six of the Bay Area's nine counties.

That itch to see new things, being curious, is part of the reason I'm a journalist.

I was born in Marin and my fondest childhood memories are of going across the Golden Gate Bridge to visit the wonderland that was San Francisco. But my father was on the move, too. From here we went to Southern California, then Arizona, then Idaho. I graduated high school on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.

I worked summers in Alaska (cook and tour guide) and sold waterbeds in Hawaii by the time I was 18.

I joined the Navy as a journalist and traveled the world. My first real broadcasting job was in Adak, a Navy base 1,200 miles west of Anchorage in the Aleutian Islands. We sometimes had to move around through a network of tunnels because fierce 100 knot "Williwaws" could blow us away.

From there I was sent to the USS Biddle, a guided missile cruiser in Norfolk, Virginia.  I ran the ship's close circuit TV station, wrote press releases about the ship's activities, patrolled the ship as part of the security guard force and was the ship's swimmer, designated to jump over the side and rescue anyone who fell into the sea. Nobody did.

We crossed Moammar Gadhafi's "Line of Death" in the Gulf of Sidra, patrolled the coast of Egypt when Anwar Sadat was assassinated and escorted a PLO flotilla out of Beirut to Tunisia.

My last assignment was as News Chief at the Far East Network at Subic Bay, Philippines, covering Navy activities across the country, including a massive relief effort after a typhoon wiped out several fishing villages in Surigao.

I held on to my connection to the Bay Area, getting up at 3 a.m. every week to watch the live satellite feed of 49ers games.

After the Navy I got my first civilian TV job at a small station in Palm Springs. It was a bit of an adjustment going from a rigid military lifestyle to the laid back, country club and celebrity scene in the desert.

I met Liberace who was buying bread at a Marie Callender's and ran into Frank Sinatra while on assignment at a hotel.  (I said, "Hey".  He said, "Hey".)

From there I made my way through stations in Chico, Fresno and Sacramento.

I covered news in Los Angeles, including the entertainment industry. It was fun, frustrating and silly covering some of the biggest stars in show business.

There are too many stories to share here, but I had some memorable encounters with the likes of Tony Curtis, Sophia Loren, Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck, Jimmy Stewart and others.

(Quick example: I went to Charlton Heston's house for a news conference. We got there early and he let us in, then came back with a platter of food and walked up to me and asked in his rich, Moses baritone, "Would you like a finger sandwich?")

There was also the day when someone dropped off a video of police officers beating a man. We had no idea how explosive that Rodney King video would become.

I finally returned to the Bay Area in 1991 and have been here ever since, covering stories that matter to me personally because this is home. There's special pride in covering a Giants World Series or 49ers Super Bowl because I've been a fan since the days of Willie Mays and John Brodie.

I've been anchoring the weekend evening newscasts here at KTVU since 2002. As a reporter I try to do stories I've never seen before, subjects I'm curious about, like what the Bay Area was like when the first humans arrived. Or how someone can survive in Silicon Valley living on minimum wage.

When not working there's a good chance I'm buzzing around the Bay Area in my Cessna, flying to lunch at Half Moon Bay or camping under the wing at a grass strip in the Sierra foothills.

And I'm probably listening to Elvis on my headphones. Did I tell you about my time in Memphis...?

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