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Monday, October 31, 2022

Jerry Vazquez, Telemundo Houston ND, loses cancer battle

Jerry Vazquez in center with Ubaldo Martinez, Alejandro Mendoza, Crystal Ayala and Carlos Robles (2018 photo taken for courtesy of Telemundo Houston KTMD)

Gerardo “Jerry” Vazquez, 54, the Vice President of News for Telemundo Houston KTMD, has lost his battle with cancer over the weekend.

Freddy Oldenburg named Telemundo Houston KTMD VP of news

Crystal Ayala, Telemundo Houston evening anchor, posted the following about Vazquez's death on Facebook:

"He was the one who saw in me, as in so many of my colleagues, a special light, so I don't hesitate to further push my career at Telemundo Houston. I'm lucky to have earned his trust and had the blessing to work by his side, to learn from him... and growing up with him for almost eight years.

A boss who was always looking out for the well being of my two kids; that is valued even more.

Jerry Vazquez was a great connoisseur of journalism, leader by nature, passionate who lived enormously proud of his team, his mom and his brothers."

"Jerry was terrific Journalist, terrific manager and a great friend," former abc13 KTRK Vice President of News Dave Strickland told  "My heart goes out to his family. I can't believe he's gone. He will be missed."

 "Jerry was was one of the best newsmen I ever worked with," former abc13 KTRK assistant news director Don Kobos told  "He not only understood the English newscape but he was a top flight Spanish speaking newsman.  He will be missed. Prayers to his family. He was a wonderful friend."

"Jerry was a mentor to me and a news whisperer," KIII 3News Corpus Christi morning anchor John-Thomas Kobos told  "When it came to guidance over the best way to deliver stories, how to dress professionally on-air or handle contract negations - his advice was always golden and spot on.  His legacy in the news business will outlast his time here on earth. He will be greatly missed as a mentor and a friend."

Vazquez joined KTMD in August 2014 where he rebuilt the station's news department after Comcast bought the NBCUniversal owned station from General Electric.

"When you have the right team in place together you can accomplish anything," Vazquez told me in 2018.  "In my opinion we have assembled a team of the best producers, anchors, reporters, photographers and assignments desk!"

Under the leadership of Vazquez, President and General Manager Tony Canales, Vice President of Marketing JC Perez and others, KTMD moved to the top of the ratings in Houston

Vazquez came to KTMD from abc13 KTRK (2001 to 2014) where he oversaw the 5, 6 and 10pm newscasts as executive producer when the newscasts were the number one shows in their timeslots.

He previously worked as:

- News Director KMID Odessa/Midland (1997 to 2001)

- Assignments Manager KMOL (Now News 4 San Antonio WOAI) (1993 to 1997)

- Assistant News Director/Assignments Telemundo San Antonio KVDA (1989 to 1993)

- Producer KGNS 8 Laredo (1986 to 1989)

"Hispanic TV in the past had been underrated and under served and not taken seriously in the field or by civic leaders," Vazquez told me in 2018.  "This has changed since when I first worked for Telemundo in the early 90’s. We had to wait for soundbites in Spanish until after the English station got everything they needed. Today the press conferences are held in English and Spanish Giving us us the same opportunity to run them live."

On a personal note, Jerry was one of my favorite bosses at channel 13.  He was always there with good advice on everything from scripts to how to handle various situations in the newsrooms.   Beyond being an amazing mentor, he was a great overall guy with a funny sense of humor that could always make the toughest newsroom situation a little better. Jerry was always a big supporter of my Alzheimer's disease advocacy work.  He certainly will be missed. 

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