Radio host Greg Lane from FM 102.7 (left) talks with Rick Bentley on the debut episode of “Rick Bentley’s TV Beat.” Bentley was a film and TV critic for 18 years with the Fresno Bee before being given his new show by Cocola Broadcasting, which provided this image.
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
A film and television critic with nearly two decades of experience with the Fresno Bee has been given his own show to discuss all things local in TV and radio.
On his June 24 debut, host Rick Bentley joked about his transition from print to the screen.
“I know seeing only my words was something you liked doing, but now you have to stare into my face and that’s a big challenge,” Bentley said. “But trust me, that’s not as big a challenge as I’m having making this adjustment.”
Bentley’s new show, “Rick Bentley’s TV Beat,” runs every other Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Network Antenna TV, KGMC Channel 43.5, Comcast 378, part of Cocola Broadcasting. In his show, Bentley discusses the news in Fresno’s TV and radio scene and interviews the people who have made their mark in local media. Bentley has said that most if not all of his guests are people that he’s worked with during his time at the Bee.
“When you spend 18 years writing about something, you’re going to talk to just about everybody in the market,” Bentley said.
Bentley’s show was born after his time at the Bee came to end amidst the paper’s layoffs. The show was the idea of Cocola Broadcasting President Gary Cocola, a longtime friend of Bentley’s. They met for lunch at Mimi’s Café in River Park two days after the columnist was let go on June 1.
That’s when Cocola pitched the show.
“I told him: ‘Where am I going to get my news, Rick?’” Cocola said. “So I said, ‘how would you like to do a 30-minute TV show?’”
“I was intrigued,” Bentley said. “I had obviously been a print guy all my life. I’ve been in front of a camera before [in] videos and as a guest on TV shows and stuff, but never full time.”
After their meeting, Bentley agreed to do the show. His first guest was Fresno radio personality Greg Lane of 102.7 the Wolf. Bentley described Lane as his “Tom Hanks,” someone who brings interesting stories and is easy to talk to.
“I’ve written about Greg several times in my career and have gotten to know Greg and have been a guest on his show,” Bentley said. “Greg and I just sort of are in sync.”
Bentley spent 18 years at the Bee and was a critic for the Bakersfield Californian for eight years prior to this. Bentley stated that while he still writes for the show, something he’s familiar with, there are still adjustments to be made as he transitions to a new medium.
“The challenge is just getting in front of a camera,” Bentley said. “I mean, it’s just not the most natural thing for me. There are some people who do it wonderfully and I admire them for it. For me, it’s a little bit of a change in direction, but I’ve always been able to talk.”
Despite this, Bentley is confident that he will adjust quickly.
“We’ve got two of these shows under our belts right now,” Bentley said. “And I think they’re going to get better with each one.”