Remembering a Bay Area News Legend, Ginger Casey

Ginger Casey anchored “This Week in Northern California” on San Francisco’s KQED TV in the early 1990’s

By Joyce Mitchell with Contribution from Hank Plante (The San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Silver Circle 2006 recipient)

Remembrances flow-in following the death of seasoned, Emmy award-winning news journalist Ginger Casey. She pioneered and advocated for accurate HIV/AIDS reporting, women in television, and ethics in broadcasting.

Her background vast, former KPIX anchor/reporter Hank Plante, writes, “The world lost a bright star, and I lost a lifelong friend, with the recent passing of my former TV news co-anchor Ginger Casey.” In the early 1990s, while working at Bay Area PBS station KQED, Casey threw herself into helping the
LGBTQ community deal with the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.“Even though I was at a competing station, KPIX-TV, I was thrilled to work with her as we emceed countless AIDS fundraisers and LGBTQ events like our televised broadcast of the 1991 San Francisco Pride Parade,” said Plante. He continued that she was much more than “straight ally.”

She grieved, he said, over the toll the pandemic was taking on her gay friends. “But she turned that grief into action in her volunteer work,” said Plante. Casey served as a board member of The Names Project, creators of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Casey died September 20, 2023 in Houston after battling lymphoma. She was 68 years old.

Plante said that the TV world has lost a legend. On her Linkedin page, Casey said that her goal was bringing “Truth to Light.” And for decades, that’s what she did. She was an anchor, reporter, producer, magazine columnist, talk show host and US Air Force veteran. In the military, she became an intelligence specialist and brought the skill of discipline to her job as a journalist.

Casey worked nearly 40 years in her field at a variety of stations including KQED, KTLA, and KRIV-TV in Houston. She and Plante went together to that Texas station as an anchor team and they became known for their on-air chemistry. Plante said that chemistry evolved from genuinely caring for one another. “It also helped that we had the same sarcastic sense of humor,” Plante said.

In 1993, Casey joined WJAR 10 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, the station is running NBC 10 Flashbacks, featuring Casey. Clips show Casey reporting from her home state of California in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake and moderating a 10 Town Meeting with President Bill
Clinton at the WJAR Studios.

In a written tribute to Casey, Plante, a member of the SF/NorCal Silver Circle, said, “Ginger was an Emmy Award-winning journalist who had the most important quality in a reporter and in a human being: she fought daily in life and on-the-air for what she thought was right.”

Ginger Casey and Hank Plante anchoring the live broadcast of the 1991 S.F. Pride Parade. (Hank Plante)
Ginger Casey and her husband Don McGrath in 2019 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. (Hank Plante)