By Kevin Wing
Editor, Off Camera
Rick Quan, who has been covering every major sporting event in the Bay Area for the last 31 years on San Francisco television, has left KGO-TV ABC7 in San Francisco after eight years there.
Prior to his joining KGO-TV, Quan spent 21 years as a sports anchor and reporter at KPIX 5 in San Francisco, from 1987 to 2008.
Quan was working in Hawaii in the mid-1980s when opportunity knocked in the Bay Area.
“I was working as a sportscaster at the ABC affiliate in Honolulu (KITV) when a Chinese American friend of mine in San Francisco sent me an article written by Ben Fong-Torres, Quan recalled. “(The article) appeared on July 13, 1986 in the San Francisco Chronicle Datebook section and was titled “Why There are No Male Asian Anchors”. It caught my attention and made me want to be the first. I began applying for jobs in the Bay Area, but with no luck, the only station I did not contact was KPIX because I was told the sports team of Wayne Walker and Joe Fonzi were number one and they didn’t need any help.”
So, Quan returned to Hawaii.
“After my last failed job interview in San Francisco, I flew back to Honolulu, thinking it was not in the cards for me to move and I should just be happy with the job I had,” he said. “But, when I got home and checked my voicemail, there was a message from KPIX sports producer Art Dlugach. He said Wayne had seen me while he was on vacation in Hawaii and they were wondering if I would be interested in being the number three guy on their sports team. I was both stunned and elated. I still had to audition for the job, but after a six month wait, I started working at KPIX on July 10, 1987.”
Quan would remain with KPIX until March 2008, when he was laid off from the station. After 21 years there, he had become the longest-tenured sports anchor in the history of the station.
Quan said he became the first Asian American male to be a full-time anchor in the Bay Area. He is also the first Chinese American TV sportscaster in the country.
He was voted best “best local news anchor” four times by the readers of the Alameda Newspaper Group. Quan’s honors through the years include two regional Emmy® statuettes and awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Associated Press and the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.
“If I am to leave the business, it comes at a great time,” Quan said. “For the last two years, I have been producing documentaries on Asian American pioneers. They have won a number of awards and been featured at various film festivals throughout the country. In fact, the last one I did was “No Ordinary Joe: The Allen Joe Story”. Allen was the first Chinese American bodybuilding champion and a mentor to Bruce Lee. It will be shown at a film festival in London on Sept. 15.”
Quan added that he is also working on a documentary on the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
“It’s planned to be an hour long and I hope to have it done by late November,” Quan said. “This is by far the most high profile documentary I have done. I recently posted on Facebook that I was leaving the local TV business, as a way to bring some closure to that part of my life, but to also let people know there is still a lot more to come. I have told friends that all those decades of reporting have brought me to this place, where I have the storytelling skills to produce important documentaries that educate and entertain. It’s a good and satisfying place to be.”