Remembering Clete Roberts


KCET Newsbeat Photo from More Things That Aren't Here Anymore




KCET is celebrating its 50th anniversary year with a series of stories, reflections, and flashbacks, like this throwback below. For more and to participate in our next 50 years, join us at kcet.org/50.


If you watch KCET often, you may have seen a pair of nostalgia programs we did back in the '90s -- "Things That Aren't Here Anymore" and the follow up "More Things That Aren't Here Anymore". When we air them, we usually air them back to back, and about two hours and 40 minutes into the block comes a segment about Clete Roberts, a man who I mentioned in an earlier post about an experimental aircraft.

In my far-flung past, I worked as a production assistant on "KCET Newsbeat with Clete Roberts," on which Clete, in his last broadcast job, led a team of reporters who went out and taped stories and interviewed people about the issues of the day. We sometimes shot more than one show, and between tapings Clete would sit in the chair by my desk and tell all sorts of stories about a career that I hardly knew anything about. Well, the nostalgia show goes into his career quite a bit and fills in some of those blanks, especially via photos, from Clete's many eras.

He not only worked for us, he worked for KNXT and KTLA with many of the journalists from what I would call the Golden Age of news reporting in Los Angeles. If you have missed this segment, I would highly recommend checking it out when "More Things That Aren't Here Anymore" airs again (check listings here).

Story continues below


Clete RobertsPhoto from More Things That Aren't Here Anymore


As I watch the show, I am astounded at how young and (in the case of this 2nd photo) almost actor like, he was. Doesn't he look just a bit like Clark Gable in this photo?

Clete died two years after "Newsbeat" went off the air in 1984. He was only 72 years old. I was one of the people who made the trek to his funeral. His flying friends flew their planes over, and I was so touched when they did it. You could almost feel that Clete was up there, flying with them, for one last time.

He was bigger than life and I am glad he made KCET his home, in his later years.

This is the way he always signed off our show and I can still hear it in my head whenever I think of him. I use it now to end this blog post.

"This is Clete Roberts. For my colleagues and for myself, I thank you, I bid you goodnight."

This is another in a series of posts where Cathy Bower, KCET's Broadcast Operations Coordinator, looks back at some interesting moments and events during the station's 50 years on the air. Read more entries here.

We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading