KMJ’s Otstot Leaving Radio for Political Position – GV Wire

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Matt Otstot, the long-time news anchor for KMJ’s “Fresno Morning News,” did his last show today. He is leaving journalism to become the district coordinator for Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno).

“It was just a deal too good to pass up,” Otstot told Media Man about the move.

Patterson is termed out at the end of 2024. Otstot isn’t concerned about the 15-month time limit of his new job, saying there is still a lot to accomplish and constituents to help.

One advantage of the new job for Otstot is sleeping in. Having to be on the air at 6 a.m. meant a 2 a.m. wake-up call.

“Now that I’m a father, now that my son is getting to the age where it’s all about life experiences, I was looking for an opportunity to get a more stable 9 to 5 position,” Otstot said. “Knowing the schedule was one of the perks, it made it really hard to say no.”

Back and Forth With Journalism

This is the third time Otstot has left a local media job. After TV news stints in Zanesville, Ohio, and Altoona, Pennsylvania, Otstot joined KSEE-24 in 2001.

He then left to become spokesman for then-Fresno Mayor Alan Autry in 2003, and returned to local TV news at CBS 47. He moved to KSEE-24 for a second time and left for Valley Children’s Hospital before joining KMJ in 2015.

In his years at KMJ, Otstot observed a troubling trend in local media.

“You’re doing more with less. News departments in both radio and television are shrinking, and the demand for local news has not shrunk at all. So, as you have fewer and fewer individuals that are there to gather news, to disseminate news, to cover events, a lot of things fall through the cracks … It’s just kind of heartbreaking to see,” Otstot said.

He has not ruled out a return to journalism when his time in Patterson’s office is up.

Gallon Also Has a New Job

Otstot replaces longtime district director Alisha Gallon, who is now the communications director for the Kings County Unified School District.

Just for comparison, Otstot’s predecessor in Patterson’s office earned $85,000 a year, according to state records. KMJ’s job listing for Otstot’s replacement pays up to $62,000 annually.

The station has not named a permanent replacement.

Still No ‘Sunday Morning Matters’

First, KSEE-24 management said its political affairs show “Sunday Morning Matters” may return from a summer hiatus in August. Then it was September.

The latest word is the show, hosted by anchor Alexan Balekian, will be back in October. There is no public reason why the show has been off the air from its hourlong 8 a.m. Sunday timeslot.

The Fresno NBC affiliate has filled the time with the Nexstar-produced statewide show “Inside California Politics.” NBC Sports programming also sometimes preempts the morning hour.

ABC 30 Goes Big on Local News

Gabe Ferris

ABC 30 debuts its 3 p.m. newscast Monday, with Vanessa Vasconcelos and Stephen Hicks anchoring. That will give the ABC-owned station a four-hour news block, with only “ABC World News Tonight,” providing a half-hour break from the local news.

Newcomer Gabe Ferris filed his first reports for the station two weeks ago. He comes from ABC News’s Washington bureau, covering the federal government. His local beat includes the courts and city hall.

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