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July 23, 2007
Remembering Pete Wilson's Sacramento years


Bay Area news anchor (KGO/Channel 7) Pete Wilson died Friday night of a heart attack while undergoing hip-replacement surgery. Wilson, known for his cutting asides and exaggerated sighs during news stories, was hugely popular both on local TV news and radio in San Francisco.

He was 62.

Before moving to the Bay, Wilson did a three-year stint in the early 1980s as the anchor at Channel 40 (KTXL, now called Fox40). His counterpart at Channel 3, Stan Atkinson, remembers Wilson as a "super guy."

"(Pete) was (Channel 40's) first major effort to get into the news business in a serious way," Atkinson says. "I remember Pete experimenting with a 'sit-down' newscast - sitting in a spartan armchair - doing the show. It was interesting, but didn't stick. But Pete was trying to get them on the map."

Cal Bollwinkel, the program manager at Channel 40 when Wilson anchored the news, says he was not surprised that Wilson quickly moved to a bigger market.

"He made quite an impression in the short time he was here," Bollwinkel recalls. "He had a very strong personality."

Atkinson says Wilson never forgot his time in Sacramento.

"He was thoughtful enough to mail a properly done rip about me retiring,
which was read at my swan song event," Atkinson says.

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