The Marin IJ reports that Wanda Ramey Queirolo, the first woman anchor in the western United States and only the second woman anchor in the country, died of cancer Saturday at her home in Greenbrae. She was 85. She is perhaps best known as the co-anchor of the noon news on KPIX in the 1950s. In fact, she holds the distinction of being the co-host of the first local television noon newscast in America, according to Bay Area Broadcast Legends.
When the program began, the opening described her as the “girl on the beat,” but within a year girl was changed to woman.
From her Broadcast Legends bio:
- One reason the Noon News became the top rated half-hour news show in six months was that viewers found the Channel 5 news exciting with Ramey’s style of broadcasting. She put on a workman’s helmet and from a construction elevator beamed out a KPIX special on the progress of the newest, tallest building in San Francisco. She rode with the S Squad at midnight to give KPIX Noon News viewers the lowdown on San Francisco Detail Police. She brought her viewers face to face with one of their new neighbors, a bearded beatnik recently moved to North Beach from Greenwich Village. She wanted to find out just what makes a beatnik tick.
The IJ quotes Peter Cleaveland, news anchor at KGO-TV at about the same time Ramey Queirolo was at KPIX, as saying, “it was a time when you could have women reporting, but they were on the social side or on food. They weren’t considered for positions doing hard news and daily news gathering. She broke that line.”
Cleaveland added: “She was a thoroughly engaging woman and a classy lady.”
(Photo credit: BroadcastLegends.com)