By Rick Griffin
Originally published in Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
March 26, 2018 (San Diego) - After nearly 20 years in the public eye, Michael Turko has left KUSI-TV to become “a private figure.” The animated, investigative consumer reporter with a ponytail, known for his “Turko Files” reports and the phrase “it ain’t right,” is gone from the station where he had worked since 1999.
In his final broadcast on March 22, Turko told viewers, “It’s time to move on. I’m leaving television, I’m leaving the news business for a simpler, quieter and much more private way of life, far from the big cities and the maddening crowds. With your help, we made the Turko Files a San Diego institution and a force to be reckoned with.”
In his resignation letter, posted on Twitter and the KUSI website, Turko wrote, “After a lot of reflection my wife and I have decided it is time for us to move on to a new chapter in our lives. I can’t say enough about the support and encouragement I have received from KUSI management through the years. I don’t seek any special accolades or public recognition for my years of service. I feel my body of work speaks for itself, and have been showered with gratitude many times by the people we have helped. That is truly the best reward I could ask for.”
On Twitter, Turko told fans, “Retirement it is. Gonna be a private figure from now on.”
In a statement, the station lauded Turko for his efforts to stand up for the little guy and uncover government incompetence and overreach and large corporations that wrongly used their power.
Turko’s sudden departure underscores the stomach-churning, high-pressure environment that’s part of the TV news workplace. Another KUSI personality, morning man-on-the-street reporter Brad Perry, walked away last year. Now Perry is developing his own TV magazine show called “Brad’s Big Adventures.”
grandfather: Not sure what you're trying to say
Turko was very effective at getting wrongs set right.
I remember a crematorium that was emitting ashes with human remains onto a Lakeside neighborhood. Many residents' complaints through the years to the County accomplished nothing, until Turko got on their case and put video on TV. The crematorium was shut down.
Yes, Turko was brash and a showman, but also not someone that bad corporate players or politicians wanted to cross.
As a side note, we were approached on that crematorium story but didn't have the deep pockets at the time to do all of the videography work, record searches, researching allegations of possible corruption etc. that such a story entails, so suggested the reader with the information take it to Turko to assure someone with the clout to get it cleaned up would take on the challenge.
Readers, if anyone out there would like to fund starting up a consumer affairs section with a dedicated consumer affairs journalist for East County Magazine, we would love to help pick up the slack left by Turko's absence. I did my share of consumer affairs reporting in the past for major newspapers and news websites. We don't have enough resources to followup all of the story leads we get, though we do as much investigative reporting as we can and have won awards for many of our investigative stories, such as tour series resulting in getting closed fire stations reopened during fire season. I dream of having an angel philanthropist who would establish a well-funded invsetigative reporting fund, or consumer affairs reporting fund, or both so that we could take on more Turko-type stories in the future.
Turko for Consumer Protection Agency
I wish Michael Turko would join the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection agency. He and John Coleman are the most memorable news personalities from my time growing up.
!Que le vaya bien! You made a big impact on our small TV market. SD has always been overshadowed by LA, NY and other media centers. Enjoy your time away from the spotlight, will there be a blog or book coming?
I'LL MISS THE TURKO FILES
Both the annoying guys (Turko and the weatherman) that my mom and I hated are gone. Maybe I'll watch KUSI now. Nah, who am I kidding? I'll only watch Prep Pigskin Report during football season.
"Hated" is a pretty strong condemnation.
Too bad. I hated him.
He was annoying af. Like you already have a mic on, bro. You don't have to scream.