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OUTTAKES

Staying Alive

October 11, 1987|Rick Sherwood

Call him Kent Aftershocknek. Some KNBC-TV newsies are calling him that since Kent Shocknek, the morning anchor, came up from under the newsdesk following his impromptu coverage of L.A.'s Big One 10 days ago.

"I was accused of overreacting but didn't understand why until my wife explained it to me," he told us. "People weren't aware of what was going on in the studio--how we could see the 50-pound lights swinging like pendulums."

He's been the butt of a David Letterman routine and other "good-natured ribbing," but he's also taken some abuse. "I heard that Charlton Heston, in a radio interview, said what I did was like inciting a riot and that Peggy Lee said she didn't understand what the big deal was about. I really did feel an obligation to tell people what was going on, but a stronger obligation to keep myself alive so I could."

Shocknek, knowing that the broadcast was carried by affiliates up and down the coast, phoned his mom in Northern California later in the day to assure her that all was well.

"I called and told her everything was fine, that we all had all our fingers and toes, and she said, 'What are you talking about?'

"She hadn't heard about it or seen me. That put it in perspective."

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