NewsCovering Kern County


Big moments in 23ABC history

Posted at 7:41 AM, Sep 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-25 10:41:28-04

As we continue to celebrate 65 years of news and entertainment on KERO, we take a look back at some of the bigger moments in the history of our television. Every new moment was an historical event in the beginning. The stories, the people, and the technology helped to shape our ability to keep you informed. 

In the first days of KERO, content was a major consideration, and live television was the only way to fill the day. Ann Gutcher was the first woman of local television, hosting the original "Romper Room" on Channel 10 in 1955. It was her first big on air job and displayed her talent for talk. It transformed into her own talk show, but her passion was news. Ann was in the studio with then Congressman Bob Elias the night Robert Kennedy was assassinated. She was the first local talent to appear on all three local stations.

Studio 'A' played host to numerous shows and acts, with Ann right alongside other local stars. 

Over the years, the faces that brought you the news changed. While Burleigh Smith provided a sense of stability for decades, many other local news personalities sat alongside him. Kim Stephens reported and anchored for KERO from 1988 through 1992. She was brand new and remembers the time Burleigh called after she anchored an evening newscast. 

Kim has been anchoring the morning news for KMPH in Fresno for the past 15 years following stints in Knoxville and San Jose. Things have changed, like the hair styles, but she still remembers events like the Christo umbrellas and 23's live broadcast on the Grapevine as moments she'll never forget.

Lisa Kimble started her career at another local station before joining the family at 23ABC. Lisa and Robin Mangarin became the first all-female anchor team in Kern County. Lisa reported on the first AIDS death in Kern County, was a mainstay at the Oscars, and reported on Pope John Paul II's first visit to California in 1987. 

Carlos Gonzales was hired on November 16, 1978 as the station's first full-time photographer. He captured news wherever it happened, including dozens of shuttle landings at Edwards to the infamous chase that landed him in the headlines. 

Robert Courtney led authorities on a rolling gun battle along Highway 58 in the early 90's, with Gonzales right in the middle of it. It was a moment in his nearly three decades at KERO that defined his career.

Mark Olesh and Mike Hart anchored KERO sports coverage in the early 90's before he moved into news. One of his favorite moments was in the broadcast booth. Those broadcasts came to an end in 1992, and it wasn't long after so did the Dodgers' tenure in Bakersfield when the city failed to build the team a new stadium.

From the longtime broadcasters, KERO has dedicated itself to bringing those moments to you. From the past to the present and into the future, KERO will bring you those moments for another 65.