Kurt Rivera, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

Kurt Rivera’s career began inauspiciously 30 years ago as a very young, very part time DJ at an Oldies themed radio station in Stockton.

One late Saturday night, when the song “Mony, Mony” concluded, the 19-year old DJ pronounced to listeners in as deep as a broadcast voice as he could: “That’s Money, Money” by Tommy James and the Shondells. Moments later the phone rang. Kurt answered. It was a listener with a message: “Tell that dumb DJ its ‘Mony, Mony’ NOT “Money, Money!'” The young DJ replied: “He said that! I’ll be sure to tell the DJ and let him know!” Thus, the road to a long career in broadcasting began!

Kurt Rivera

Kurt Rivera

It has now been 28 years in television.

Kurt’s first job was as a photographer and part-time reporter at KESQ-TV in Palm Springs in 1987. Kurt shot the very first live shot for that market. He then was hired as a full-time reporter at KERO-TV in Bakersfield where he worked for five years. Kurt was then hired by the new Fox start-up station WFLD-TV in Chicago as a morning reporter. He followed that up as a morning reporter at WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

To be closer to family, Kurt moved back to Bakersfield in 1999 and became a news anchor for the first time in his career. He still reported, but his main role in his career changed. From KGET-TV, he became a main anchor at KBAK and KBFX-TV in Bakersfield from 2004 through 2015. It’s the longest run at a station Kurt has worked.

Kurt has been honored with several awards over his career including several Emmy Awards, Murrow Awards, including a national Murrow for a series on Meth; Golden Mic’s and AP Awards.



Charles Westerheide, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

I have always been a sports guy.  I got hooked in high school and went to the University of Oklahoma to become a sportscaster.  My dad, a lifelong banker, didn’t see a future in that and had me enroll as a journalism and business double major because he was paying the bills.

Chuck pic

Charles Westerheide

While writing for the Oklahoma Daily newspaper, I did a profile piece and interviewed Dean Blevins, an Oklahoma City sportscaster. Blevins said they needed sports interns, and I got my shot at KOCO-TV.  I learned to write for TV, edit video and create a rundown.  On Saturdays and Sundays, I did the sportscasts that played overnight or on our weekend morning show.  My boss was Mick Cornett, who is now Oklahoma City’s mayor.  Mick told me I was not going to make much in sports, but that I should jump over to news.  Mick was right, I jumped to news and moved from editor to AP to producer.  I was there for 5 years.


My next job was in Kansas City at WDAF. They were soon switching affiliations from NBC to FOX.  I helped start a 9 p.m. newscast.  I knew a little bit about a lot of stuff. They needed help with computer systems, live shots and graphics.  I produced sports shows, the Oklahoma City bombing and the O.J. Simpson trial coverage.  When Senator Bob Dole ran for President, I followed him everywhere.  I loaded up a minivan with equipment and drove to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and San Diego. I set up for our political reporter and anchors to fly into town and do live reports.

About the same time, a buddy from KOCO called and said he was starting up a FOX station back in Oklahoma City. I left Kansas City to build a newsroom at KOKH. After about a year, we were on the air and my role switched from builder/fixer to show producer.  It was time to move on.

I liked San Diego when I was here for the Republican Convention. I didn’t have a lot of experience on the assignment desk, but things worked out at NBC 7/39.  I quickly moved from the desk into management.  I’ve been lucky enough to work with great people through tragedies like wildfires, terrorist attacks and kidnappings. I’ve also had the pleasure of being involved with coverage of fun events like the Olympics, Super Bowls and airshows.

San Diego is where I met my wife.  We have two smart and beautiful daughters.   NBC 7 has introduced me to great friends and co-workers. I’ve worked with, and competed against people who really care about serving the community.  San Diego is now home after almost 18 years at NBC 7.


Deborah Shaw Lawrence, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

Deborah Shaw Lawrence has nearly three decades of creative strategy, promotion, design, and media expertise. The recipient of 18 Emmy Awards from NATAS-PSW and a national Emmy Award for NBC Olympics coverage, she has also been received a Golden Mic, PROMAX Gold and four San Diego Press Club awards for journalistic excellence.

Deborah Shaw Lawrence

Deborah Shaw Lawrence

Currently director of public relations at Healthy Dining, Deborah is also president and owner of Bella Dolce PR, handling PR for clients throughout Southern California. A former NATAS-PSW board member, she is a leader in the community as well, serving as Vice President of the Miracle League of Diego; as Board Member and Patroness of the San Dieguito Chapter of National Charity League, Inc. and as Co-Founder of San Diego’s newest non-profit dance company, K-12 Hip Hop.

“Being inducted into the Silver Circle is incredibly important to me because I chaired the Silver Circle celebration for three years,” she says. “It’s really important to honor people who’ve given their heart and soul to the TV industry in Southern California and Nevada.

“I was fortunate to be able to devote most of my career to NBC San Diego. Anyone who knows me knows it’s my passion to make and see great TV. There are so many talented people in this market – behind the scenes and in front of the camera – and I’m honored to be in the group celebrated in the Silver Circle.”

2015 Silver Circle Inductees

The Board of Governors of the NATAS Pacific Southwest Chapter announces the 2015 Silver Circle Inductees:

Geni Cavitt

Cynthia Farham

John Finn

Kurt Rivera

Deborah Shaw Lawrence

Fred Swift

Charles Westerheide

The Silver Circle is open to individuals who began their careers in television at least 25 years ago either in a performing, creative, technical, or administrative role within our industry, or in an area related to television, such as TV journalism education, advertising, promotion, and public relations and are still active in a television-related field.

All candidates have also made a significant contribution to the Pacific Southwest Television for a substantial portion of their 25-year career.  Since it was established in 1983, the Silver Circle has 274 members. The Gold Circle, which honors members who have contributed most of their 50-year plus television career to our Pacific Southwest Chapter, has 25 members.

See the list of recipients for the Silver and Gold Circle, respectively.

This year’s Silver Circle induction:

Sunday September 20, 2015
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
2000 Spindrift Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Fred Swift, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

Fred Swift is a native San Diegan and graduate of Mount Miguel High School. He attended Santana ROP Electronics/Broadcast program in his junior and senior year of High School and obtained his FCC Element 9 Operators Permit at 16-years-old.


Fred’s first job was at Conic Data Systems. An associate in the Test Equipment Lab told him of a job in television at KCST-TV.

In 1979, Fred applied for the “Video Operator/Maintenance Engineer” position at then KCST-TV. He learned video on GE-250 4 Channel television cameras. Fred setup and shaded the Bob Dale afternoon movie and the evening newscasts as well as the film chains since some of the news content was still on 16mm film.

Fred met Richard Large at KCST-TV. Richard was the second employee hired for KUSI-TV in 1981 and he built and put KUSI on the air. Richard hired Fred in June 1984, and his long career at KUSI began. Fred had met his wife (Sammie Jo Cuevas) at KCST and shortly after his hiring at KUSI, they got married. 1984 was a very busy year!

In 1990, KUSI moved locations to start a News Operation. Fred helped move the entire operation within 30 days! 12 hours a day, 30 days straight through, everyone pulled together as a team and got it done.

While at KUSI, Fred started working freelance jobs. He worked several Los Angeles Marathons, 10+ New York Marathons, The Chicago marathon, and Tour of California Bike Race. During the 1996 Summer Olympics(NBC), he was on duty when the bomb went off in Olympic Park. He dialed in the first live shot from Richard Jewel’s house (suspect in the bombing). In addition, Fred has worked as Freelance Tech manager for NBC Sports NFL, NBA, and WNBA, RF supervisor for two Super Bowls(NBC), wireless camera engineering for the Oscars Red Carpet show(ABC), countless ESPN Baseball shows, and many Golf shows including two U.S. Opens. The remote experience was invaluable for his technical expertise.

Fred is the volunteer SBE frequency coordinator for greater than 1 GHz. He monitors the various microwave allocations for the local broadcasters and looks out for broadcast interest as far as spectrum use above one Gigahertz goes.

Cynthia Faram, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

Cynthia Faram’s love of television started when she graduated High School and went to work for a local station in Oklahoma City. After being hired as the Administrative Assistant to the News Director, curiosity got the better of her and she started going out with an old film camera and found it a great challenge. She then met her husband Rick and they moved to San Diego in 1974.

Cynthia Farham

Cynthia applied for the position of Administrative Assistant to News Director Bill Peterson at KCST. After four interviews, she was hired. Three years later Cynthia decided to go out in the field. She worked her “day job” and then went out with the News crews. Her hard work paid off. A year later, Cynthia was hired as assistant camera operator and three years later became a full-time photographer.

Cynthia has received two Golden Mics and one Emmy Award. She loves her Yorkie, Savannah and likes to kayak, bicycle and walk around Lake Murray.

“It has been exciting 40 years,” Cynthia says. “The station gave me an opportunity to do something I love.”

Geni Cavitt, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

From the time she was a little girl, Geni Cavitt knew she wasn’t interested in becoming a doctor, or a lawyer, or a teacher. Her sights were set on the world of radio and television.


Geni Cavitt

Fast forward to 1979…Geni Cavitt began her broadcast career as a board operator at Magic 91 in El Cajon, back when AM radio was still radio. After getting caught sneaking her voice on air in the middle of the night, her program director suggested she make a demo reel, which is “radio-speak” for “look for a job elsewhere.” She did, and it led immediately to midday radio shows at KOGO-AM, then KFMB-AM. Along the way, she took over television. As a job counselor might say, “Easy-peasy.”

The television takeover began when Radio Personality Geni was asked to co-host, in order, several telethons including Easter Seals, the San Diego Humane Society, Children’s Hospital, and The Muscular Dystrophy Association. She also was one of the regulars who filled in on “Sun-Up San Diego,” Channel-8’s popular live morning show. Soon, Geni realized that KFMB-TV was looking for a weathercaster to join the early morning news team and she learned what being a “morning person” was all about. Then, one morning, the phone rang…“CBS This Morning” chose her to fill in when their regular weathercaster was on vacation. Twice. From New York.

Then, one day, the phone rang again, only this time it was KGTV calling and this time she didn’t have to make a demo reel. They hired Geni for their weekend weather position and as a news reporter during the week. Since the opportunity to learn to shoot and edit her own stories came with the offer, she jumped at the chance.

And then, all of a sudden, thirty years had passed and here we are today…

John Finn, 2015 Silver Circle Inductee

John Finn has worked in the television industry since 1986 where he started as the Art Director for NBC in Youngstown, Ohio. After 10 years he got the big call to be the Design Director for the San Francisco CBS O&O KPIX-TV.

John Finn

John Finn


Because of family, he moved to Las Vegas to work at CBS KLAS-TV and then to FOX KVVU-TV. He’s freelanced for Harrah’s broadcast division, TechTV, Variety Productions, 168 Design, Video House, WSI Weather and Universal Studio.


Twenty six years can move fast in the television industry.

Save the Date! Silver Circle Induction

Save the date for this year’s Silver Circle induction. The festivities, honoring those who’ve worked in the television industry for over 25 years, will take place Sunday September 20, 2015 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Stay tuned for more details!


Event location: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

2000 Spindrift Drive

La Jolla, CA 92037

Silver Circle Nominations

Calling all Silver Circle Nominations! Do you know someone who’s been in the television industry for at least 25 years? Let us know and nominate them to become a Silver Circle member. Fill out application form online before March 15, 2015 to nominate a colleague. Date, time and location of the Silver Circle Inductee Event will be announced soon.