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Dave McElhatton, American television news anchor, died from complications of a stroke he was 81

Dave McElhatton  was a former evening news anchor for several decades in San Francisco, California, in the United States died from complications of a stroke he was  81. He was in the first class of inductees to the Bay Area Hall of Fame. He retired in 2000.[1]
McElhatton was sometimes called “Mac” [2]

 (December 8, 1928 – August 23, 2010)


Early life

An Oakland native, McElhatton attended San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University). He received a B.A. in liberal arts from that institution in 1951. [3]


Radio career

McElhatton worked for KCBS Radio in San Francisco for 25 years, starting two weeks after college graduation.[4] Early in his career, he hosted an all-night radio show, “Music ‘Til Dawn”.
In the early 60s, he was the host of “McElhatton In The Morning”, a blend of news and comedy, with his side-kick ‘Friendly Clyde’ (Homer Welch).
He later did a radio program “Viewpoint”, which was the area’s first telephone talk show. McElhatton later became news director of KCBS radio, where he helped change the format of the station to an all-news format. [4]

Television news career

While doing radio at KCBS, McElhatton (along with Friendly Clyde) hosted TV Bingo, a daytime show on KTVU Channel 2.
McElhatton became a news anchor for KPIX-TV Channel 5, the first television station in San Francisco [5] starting in 1977 upon leaving KCBS radio. The hiring of McElhatton, a radio broadcaster, was noted by some to be a bold stroke. [6] He remained as a news achor with KPIX until his retirement in 2000. [7] He was noted, along with that of CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, to be among two good reporters during a forum by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. [8]
At his peak, his salary as a newscaster was reportedly approximately $750,000 per year. [9] For a decade from the late 1970s to late 1980s, his co-anchor was Wendy Tokuda, whom he still maintained personal contact with[10]. Tokuda left KPIX for KNBC in Los Angeles in 1992. Tokuda rejoined the station in 2007. During his career in television, the news program that he anchored was frequently the top rated news broadcast in terms of audience size. [11]
He had several film credits, including Cardiac Arrest (1980) and Thief of Hearts (1984). In Alfred Hitchcock‘s Vertigo (1958), Hitchcock filmed a never-used 1-minute scene showing Midge Wood (Barbara Bel Geddes) and Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) listening to a radio report that the murderer had been arrested in Europe – the unseen radio announcer in this scene (included as an extra on the DVD release of Vertigo) was McElhatton. [12]
In 2006, the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame was created. McElhatton was among the inaugural inductees. [2]
McElhatton was a guest lecturer at San Francisco State University in the Broadcast and Electronic Communications Department until the mid-1980s. [3]


McElhatton lived with his third wife, Karen, in the Palm Springs, California area. In late 2004, he suffered a mild stroke but reportedly was recuperating and doing fine in 2005.[7] His second wife, Bonnie Chastain, died in 1988.[13] McElhatton’s son Terry, former news director at KNTV in San Jose, died in June 2008. McElhatton died Monday, August 23, 2010 of a stroke-related illness in Rancho Mirage. McElhatton is survived by his third wife, Karen, as well as two children and eight grandchildren. He was 81.[14]


  • Excellence in Journalism Award, Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California

Chapter, 1988 for distinguished career. [15]

  • Alumni Hall of Fame (San Francisco State University), 1996 [3]
  • Governor’s Award, Northern California Emmy Presentation. 1999 [7]
  • Associated Press Television-Radio Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 [7]

To see more of who died in 2010 click here


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