The temblor hit around 3:20 a.m., which meant some scrambling for the local news gatherers, noted David Wiegand of the SF Chronicle's TV blog.
At that point, all Bay Area stations were still airing infomercials. However, at least KPIX had info on its web site that the quake had occurred, something which I was able to confirm via the US Geological Survey site.
In a reasonably short time, ABC7 and KPIX began running a crawl at the bottom of the screen (they were still airing infomercials for a while) advising viewers that the quake had occurred. Shortly after that, the two stations, and, a little later, KNTV began wall to wall coverage of the quake. KTVU, so often a leader in Bay Area news, lagged getting on air, and KRON was still airing infomercials, so, frankly, I never checked back with them.
For a while, and not unexpectedly, local TV was scrambling. In fact, at one point KPIX began broadcasting KCBS radio. ABC7 took early command of the situation, with Cheryl Jennings, Matt Keller and Kristen Sze sharing the anchor desk for a while, until Keller was dispatched to Napa.
KGO/ABC7 stayed consistent throughout the overnight and into the morning added Wiegand.
While I couldn’t make a scientific study, I flipped back and forth among the local outlets (except for KRON) and always found the most complete information on ABC7. The images were refreshed more often and ABC seemed, at least, to have more reporters in more places than the other outlets.
It wasn’t long before the other outlets were as up to speed as ABC7 and doing a very good job getting the facts, debunking misinformation, and providing competent, thorough coverage.
He said it was a good job by all, ABC-owned KGO in particular.