Guide to the KRUZ Tapes Collection – History

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In approximately 1984, Group W, the cable provider in Santa Cruz County at that time, was in a bidding war for to see which cable provider would win the exclusive cable franchise for the next several years of service to Santa Cruz City and County. All 4 competing organizations included some type of local content provision in their proposals. Since Group W held the cable franchise during that time, they created their own Local Origination television station to provide local programming and possibly give them a leg up in the negotiations with the city and county.

When the franchise was finally approved, KRUZ was written into the Santa Cruz City/County Franchise Agreements (since no access station existed at that time) and mandated that any cable company holding the franchise, had to maintain a mobile production truck, a studio, and a five member full time staff in order to assure that the cable company would have to offer local content. KRUZ continued to be operated by a series of cable providers (Group W, United Artists, TCI, AT&T, and now Comcast) even after Community Television was created.

The main difference between Public Access and Local Origination is that nearly all of the content offered by a Local Origination station is created by a paid staff, rather than by members of the community who rent equipment and/or studio space and learn to create their own shows.

KRUZ programming aired initially on KPIX, Channel 5. Since KPIX and KCBA aired the same network shows during prime time.  Group W was allowed to pre-empt KPIX in order to run locally produced content. After the cable system was rebuilt, KRUZ was given it’s own 24 hour channel, initially Channel 4, and later Channel 17.

KRUZ won a number of awards during its many years of operation, including the SC Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 1994 for a telethon that raised more than $100,000 for local sports and arts programs in county schools. Over the years, through other telethons and fundraisers, KRUZ raised half a million dollars for local schools and organizations, and produced hundreds of award-winning shows and documentaries.

KRUZ was in operation until 2009, when Comcast closed ten (or so) of its Local Origination stations in Northern California.


Stewart Butler was the General Manager for Group W during those early years, and he now works for Comcast as Director of Sales and Marketing in the Fresno region. Unfortunately, I don’t have a contact phone number for him.  His e-mail address might be

Rusty Reed is a videographer who produced sports for KRUZ when I went to work there in 1988. Rusty may still be in touch with some of the key players from those early days. His phone number is 407-616-4066. Rusty’s wife, Becca King Reed produces a show for KQED called “This is US.” She is the Executive Director of KTEH in San Jose .(408) 795-5413, and may have some useful info for you.

Michael Warren, who later became Senator Bruce McPherson’s Administrative Assistant, was the Manager of KRUZ when I first started there in 1988. I’ve lost track of him, but Rusty Reed might know how to reach him. He produced many of the news shows that you’ve got, along with Doug McVadon, who may still be in touch with Rusty.

Tony Hill was the first Executive Director of KRUZ, but he is, sadly, no longer with us.

Doug McVadon, who anchored the local news shows in the early days. Rusty Reed might have current contact info for him.