December 2, 1956
Berkeley, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Southern California (B.A.)|
Kent Shocknek is an American television newsman. Because of the length of his career, the duration of his broadcasts, and breaking news events, by the time of his retirement from news (below), he is credited with having logged more hours anchoring newscasts than anyone else in Los Angeles. The city has designated a day in his honor (below). Before anchoring prime-time newscasts on CBS-TV owned stations CBS2 and KCAL9, he was Southern California's first and longest-running television news morning news anchor. Starting with his tenure at CBS News, he also has been sought out to appear in dozens of feature films and television dramas - typically as a newscaster or commentator - giving rise to a popular second career that continues currently. On radio, Shocknek has narrated a daily commentary in Los Angeles, and has hosted a nationally syndicated entertainment program. TV viewers and magazine readers also recognize him as a reporter and authority on automotive issues.
Life and career
Born Kent Schoknecht in Berkeley, California, he simplified the on-air spelling of his name upon arrival to Los Angeles television. After working at the Long Beach Press Telegram while attending the University of Southern California, Shocknek's first TV reporting job was in Sioux City, Iowa (KCAU-TV), followed by a three-year stint as anchor and Space Shuttle reporter in Orlando, Florida (WFTV).
In 1986, Shocknek anchored the start-up of L.A.'s first TV morning news program, "Today in L.A." on KNBC-TV. Over the years, he broadcast—often single-handedly—such events as the Los Angeles riots, O.J. Simpson murder trial, and storms and earthquakes that shook his studio while he was on the air.
Shocknek first made national news headlines anchoring the 1986 launch and explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger; and a strong aftershock to the deadly 5.9 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. The threat of falling studio lights forced Shocknek to take cover under his set's anchor desk for several seconds as he continued reporting about the ground- and studio movement.
After helming the KNBC program for 15 years, Shocknek moved to morning newscasts at KCBS-TV (CBS2-TV in Los Angeles) in 2001. There, L.A. Confidential magazine named him one of L.A.'s top three anchors. He anchored live the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center, and subsequently reported on the War in Iraq; Michael Jackson's funeral; plus Southern California's seasonal wildfires and frequent high-speed freeway chases. In November 2013, Shocknek and his morning coanchor Suzie Suh moved to prime-time spots on Los Angeles CBS TV-owned station KCAL9, anchoring the #1-rated newscasts, "KCAL9 News at 8 and 10 PM." The City of Los Angeles proclaimed January 10, 2014 as "Kent Shocknek Day," in honor of Shocknek's decades of dedicated service. In a move that surprised viewers, he announced he would retire from daily newscasting in late 2014. Shocknek's final newscast - including a 10-minute career retrospective and farewell video with L.A. newsmakers and Hollywood celebrities - aired September 26, 2014. Various local governments and agencies, including the City and County of Los Angeles, as well as the State of California, have honored him for his work.
Three days after Shocknek retired from news anchoring, the short film "The 6 O'Clock" premiered online, starring Shocknek as the male lead in the role of a highly focused individual, who may not be the person the audience believes him to be. He has acted in major Hollywood film productions, working for directors Steven Spielberg, Adam McKay in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Barry Levinson, and Justin Lin, among others. In television, he has marked more than a dozen appearances as newsman "Guy Ross" in the crime procedural drama, NCIS (TV series) and the NCIS spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles. He has appeared several times in Criminal Minds, and the Amazon series, Bosch.
Shocknek's voice is almost as well known as his image; he began writing and delivering the 60-second daily radio commentary Just A Minute with Kent Shocknek on CBS all-news radio station KNX-1070 AM in Los Angeles, in 2003. Later, he launched Premiere Magazine Live!, a weekly radio show about movies, in approximately 50 markets countrywide, with his wife Karen, using the on-air surname Walters, working as co-host.
- 8 regional Emmy Awards (individual and group)
- 2 L.A. Press Club Awards
- Golden Mic. Award (Best Daytime Newscast)
- Wm. Randolph Hearst Award (investigative reporting)
B.A., University of Southern California, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
- KCBS/KCAL-TV Los Angeles Web Site Bio: http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/personality/kent-shocknek/ Accessed November 19, 2013.
- Kent Shocknek's IMDb Profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0794688/
- Kent Shocknek's Web Site: http://kentshocknek.com
- Announcement on KCAL9 10:00 news program 2014-09-26
- Longtime Anchor Kent Shocknek Signs Off From Local News, KCBS Los Angeles, accessed 2014-09-30
- No more Mr. News Guy -- L.A. anchor Kent Shocknek signs off, Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, accessed 2014-10-01