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Broadcast Pioneers (continued)

Mario Machado
Reporter-Anchor, KHJ-TV (Los Angeles), 1967

     Mario Machado is the first Chinese American on-air television news reporter and anchor in Los Angeles and perhaps the nation when he signed on with KHJ-TV in 1967. His father's Portuguese name and his Chinese mother's heritage steeled him for the travails of the mass media system that often prejudged him as a Mexican and ignored him as a Chinese American. His undeniable talent for communications made him one of the first and few ethnic minority national network sports analysts when he joined CBS Sports in 1968 as a color commentator. In 1969 he became the first consumer affairs reporter in the nation at KNXT Los Angeles, where he broke the story of cyclamates, a food addictive and sugar substitute that was found to be carcinogenic. By 1970 he had become the weekend news anchor for KNXT, the first Asian male news anchor in the nation's #2 media market. He is the winner and nominee of ten Emmy awards for reporting and producing, including the award-winning medical series, MEDIX. His other credits include hosting daily radio talk shows on several Los Angeles stations, doing the play-by-play announcing for international World Cup and Olympic soccer finals as well as appearing in numerous motion picture character roles.

 

 

Linda Shen
Reporter, WNET-TV (New York), 1972

     Linda Shen became the first Asian American TV news reporter in New York City when she joined WNET-TV's The 51st State in 1972.  The Radcliffe College graduate started at WNEW's Black News where she was accused of "inciting a race riot" in Connecticut because of producing a story about police brutality and the Black Panthers. When she was on the air at WNBC-TV many Chinese American, including the eight-year-old daughter of the Chinese grocer in her hometown of Hamden, Connecticut, watched for her faithfully. That young girl, whenever she saw Shen on the TV would yell, "You tell'em, Linda!"

     Linda was recruited by KPIX-TV in San Francisco to replace Chris Chow in 1973. She went on to become the in-studio consumer affairs reporter and the first Asian American reporter to win an Emmy for reporting on the Japanese American community's pilgrimage to the Tule Lake concentration camp (1974-75). Outraged by the station's descent into cheap, sensationalistic broadcasting, Linda quit in the middle of her contract. After returning to the East Coast (WETA, Washington, D.C.) for a stint, she established a successful food business in San Francisco and retired after sixteen years. She now cares for her family and never watches television at home.

 

Victor Wong
Photojournalist, KQET-TV (San Francisco), 1968

     Victor Wong is a native San Franciscan who created the photojournalistic essay genre now popular on public television in 1968 when he went to work for the seminal news and analysis program, Newsroom, on KQET-TV, Channel 9. The creator of that show, Mel Wax, uses the word "superb" when talking about Victor Wong: "Victor is a superb photographer who married picture and music with his own on-air narration to create a special form of story that has inspired imitations and variations to this day on public television." His brother Zeppelin gave him his first camera and encouraged him to go into that line of work. Victor's name is also on the plaque marking the founding of the famous Second City comedy club in Chicago, Illinois. Following his photojournalistic career, he became a motion picture character actor in such films as The Last Emperor, Golden Child, Dim Sum, Joy Luck Club, and Big Trouble In Little China.

 

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