Tony Cipolla, a longtime anchor at KSBY-TV prior to leaving the station about a year ago, has been hired as a morning co-anchor at KCOY-TV in Santa Maria.
Kevin Harlan, KCOY’s general manager, confirmed that Cipolla will join Sara Cole as a morning anchor “starting the week after next.”
He said that the station and Cipolla, who’s been teaching at Cal Poly since leaving KSBY in June 2010, have been in negotiations “for a while.” He couldn’t be more specific.
“He’s going to join the KCOY team,” Harlan added. “He’s a great part of broadcasting in this market, and we’re glad to have him.”
Cipolla had been a popular fixture at KSBY since joining the San Luis Obispo-based station in 1989. In addition to being an on-air personality, Cipolla was known for hosting numerous nonprofit and community events.
“I’m just very excited to be joining the largest and best television news team on the Central Coast,” Cipolla said late Thursday afternoon.
“The neat thing about this is that because of my schedule (at KCOY), I’ll be able to continue teaching at Cal Poly.
“I love the opportunity to mentor young minds, and I really thrive on seeing the next generation of journalists coming through. It’s so neat to have a classroom of students; you can tell the ones who, wow, get it. It’s fun to follow them and see wherever their careers may lead.”
In Cipolla’s case, that career arc is back to broadcasting.
During the course of his career at KSBY, his news coverage earned him two Emmys for his work on the San Simeon Earthquake, numerous Associated Press honors and Golden Mike awards from the Radio and Television News Association, as well as the Edward R. Murrow Award for excellence in broadcast journalism.
Cipolla grew up in Rochelle, Ill., attended the University of Illinois and graduated in 1985 with a degree in broadcast journalism. He worked at CNN in Atlanta, Ga., then moved to California in 1986 where he worked at KFMB-TV, a CBS affiliate in San Diego.
While at KSBY, Cipolla held several jobs, working first as a general assignment reporter, then later as anchor, editor and news director.
Cipolla left the NBC affiliate after an agreement couldn’t be reached with management about his contract.
Since leaving KSBY, Cipolla told The Tribune earlier this year, he's been catching up on quality time with his family while teaching advanced broadcast journalism at Cal Poly.
“Teaching was a natural transition for me,” he said, “and I don't regret my decision to leave the station.”