Oct. 10 2012 08:54 AM

KPBS icon's impact on CityBeat

editorial
Gloria Penner
Photo courtesy of KPBS

San Diego lost one of its most well-known and important figures on Saturday, when journalist Gloria Penner succumbed to the cancer she'd been battling for more than a year. She'd been a fixture at KPBS since 1969 and a constant voice in the conversation about local and state politics and public affairs. Not enough can be said about her role in forging a trail for women in broadcasting.

I was honored to have been allowed to pay my respects at a funeral service on Sunday and say goodbye amid her family, friends and colleagues. News of her death had hit me hard. I realized, perhaps more clearly than I had before, how much Gloria meant to me and this newspaper.

It was Pam Hardy, then a producer for KPBS, who sought to add me as a second-string panelist on the Editors Roundtable radio show in 2003. But I believe that would never have happened without Gloria's approval as the show's host and driving force. I think she and I developed a special chemistry over the years; I was not as refined as the usual panelists, and she took my often-unconventional contributions with grace and good humor. Gloria and the show legitimized CityBeat in the minds of many thousands of KPBS listeners when we were fledgling and anxious to be noticed.

In the months after her diagnosis, I'd be relieved every time I entered the studio to find her bright, smiling face; though she began to host the show less frequently, I marveled at her energy as she fought her illness. I regret that I didn't know that the show we did on July 6, 2012, would be the last we'd do together. Her final broadcast was on July 20.

Gloria had a reputation as a tough customer in the workplace, but she was nothing but kind to me. She treated me with respect even when I'd been in San Diego less than a year and knew absolutely nothing relative to her vast knowledge of local affairs. I have tremendous admiration for her accomplishments and am in awe of the high esteem in which she's been held by influential San Diegans across the political spectrum for so many years.

More than anything, I'll miss our fun little Friday chats about news and politics. Rest in peace, Gloria.


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Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28