Stu Mundel, perhaps the most well-known of L.A.’s TV helicopter reporters — specifically for his frequent coverage of police car chases and brush fires across Southern California — is boarding a new chopper. Mundel has exited his longtime perch at the CBS-owned KCBS/KCAL duopoly for a new gig at crosstown rival KTTV “Fox 11.”
KCBS/KCAL confirmed the departure, and Fox 11 plans to make a larger announcement when he officially starts in June. KTTV VP/news director Erica Hill-Rodriguez announced the hire in a memo to staff:
“Stu Mundel will be joining Fox 11 as an aerial breaking news reporter, bringing us the important information on brushfires, pursuits, dramatic rescues, and all breaking news,” she wrote. “As many of you already know, Stu has been an iconic voice in our market, reporting breaking news from the air for the last eight years for KCBS/KCAL. I am thrilled to welcome Stu and his extensive experience to the already exceptional SkyFox team. As we get closer to Stu’s arrival, we will be working closely with the SkyFox team on how we will be integrating Stu into our daily coverage.”
Mundel, who is based at Van Nuys Airport, has become a bit of a Los Angeles icon thanks to his often dramatic reaction to events on the ground as he’s covering a chase or a fire — shouts of “whoa!” and “whoo hoo!” are common in Mundel’s overhead reports.
Mundel is also a frequent guest on radio and has a large social media following, having been named one of the top 50 Angelenos to follow on Twitter by Los Angeles magazine. Mundel also hosted a podcast for KCBS/KCAL.
Insiders said Mundel jumped to KTTV because the station “made him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” and the move was unrelated to a round of layoffs that hit CBS-owned stations across the country on Wednesday. In Los Angeles, well-known anchors Jeff Michael and Sharon Tay, along with meterologist Garth Kemp, were let go from KCBS/KCAL as part of a new round of CBS pink slips.
As for Mundel, KCBS/KCAL was instrumental in building up the helicopter reporter’s profile. In 2017, the station reported on how Mundel had become “a cult hero during pursuits.”