a 2x8 collage of Tony Cabrera's favorite entertainment.

What’s on Tony Cabrera's phone?

Being a TV news personality is a family affair for Tony Cabrera. Every week on ABC7 Eyewitness News, the weathercaster and general assignment reporter shares local updates with his fellow Angelenos. But Cabrera has also grown a sizeable audience on Instagram and TikTok by sharing funny and relatable stories about his career plus married life and fatherhood.

“Creating content on social media is fun for me,” he said. “I also think it’s important for TV viewers to know that side of me - it’s part of who I am.” 

Cabrera regularly chronicles his trips to USC’s campus with his wife Raquel and their four children ages 2, 4, 7 and 9 for athletic events and tailgates. He gushes about the fact that even his 2-year-old holds up his victory sign and yells “Fight on.”

“I want my kids to live and breathe USC and what brings me so much joy is seeing them actually doing that as young as they are,” he said. “The importance of a great education and the overall experience I got through USC is part of the legacy I hope to pass down to them.”

But it isn’t always rainbows and sunshine for the San Jose, Calif., native. Cabrera has been posting updates on his brother’s health status after suffering two strokes, heart failure and paralysis from the neck down. 

“It’s a rollercoaster and my faith is being tested,” he said. “I have good weeks and bad weeks, not knowing what the future holds. Fortunately, there have been little signs of hope throughout the process and that allows me to find joy.”

After graduating in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from USC Annenberg, Cabrera spent a year in Toledo, Ohio, as a news producer for WTVG-TV. From there, he went to KVOA in Tucson, Ariz., as a general assignment reporter for two years before returning to Los Angeles 

“I wanted to come back to Southern California but no one was hiring, so I took a break and waited tables,” Cabrera said. “Suddenly, I got a call from KABC about a new red-carpet entertainment show. I was hired as a correspondent and producer for On the Red Carpet, which eventually became nationally syndicated during my time there. For about three and a half years I covered the Oscars, the Emmys and all of the major awards shows, interviewing all the top celebrities, and going to movie junkets.”

Wanting to get back into local news, Cabrera was a news anchor for KCOY-TV/KKFX-TV in Santa Barbara and KFSN-TV in Fresno before coming back to L.A. and his current position at KABC. He credits his college education for his career success. 

“I chose USC because I knew that it had a great broadcast journalism program,” Cabrera said. “I knew I wanted to come to L.A.; I wanted to have the best education, and I wanted to have a traditional college experience. USC had all of that.”gif of music, movies and entertainment that tony cabrera likes.

Can you tell us what you remember about your first job after college and how USC Annenberg helped prepare you for it? 

I was a production assistant at KABC during my last year of college and into that summer afterward. Then my first real job was at WTVG in Toledo, Ohio, and I was a weekend producer/fill-in reporter.  I was all excited, like, “Oh, the snow.” However, my colleagues warned me I would grow tired of it, and sure enough, two weeks later I'm like, “It's still coming.” I know they tell you about white Christmas, but they don't tell you about the white April and May. And they kept saying, “Oh, don't worry, the summers are going to be beautiful,” but then we get to summer and there are lightning storms every week!

All joking aside, Annenberg prepared me by teaching me how to write. My education gave me the confidence to be given a story no matter what it was, break it down from beginning, middle to end, and to be able to write conversationally for television purposes. I graduated knowing that even if they threw me outside to do a story or had me inside as a producer, producing a newscast and stacking a show, I had the confidence that I could do all of that no matter what was asked of me.

What do you do for fun?

Oh, geez. It's hard to have hobbies when you have four kids. In a way, parenting has become a hobby. I love it. But, it is important to me to go to the gym. I prioritize exercise and being healthy so I can be my best and healthiest self. As a dad, I want to be around as long as possible for my kids and eventually my grandkids. I've always been fitness-minded, but as a dad things get so busy with life that sometimes the gym does become less of a priority. 

Any advice for anyone coming out of USC Annenberg who wants to get into a similar field?

The big thing I advocate for is to follow your gut. That's something that was told to me by my mentor at USC, Mike Daniels, who passed away in 2013. I met him when I was a freshman at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). I didn't get into USC the first time around so I went to LMU and was set on staying there. But, Mike taught at both schools and told me, “If you're serious about journalism, you need to go where you wanted in the first place.” He inspired me to reapply, and after I transferred to USC he took me under his wings. He got me passionate about journalism, especially TV news.

Mike taught me how to write and make decisions, but most importantly to follow my gut. There were times when I may not have made the best decision, but he always said, “Hey, you know, you followed your gut.” That was big for me. 

I also learned about patience and not comparing myself to anybody else because there were people that I graduated with who moved along faster than I did. That was discouraging at times. But in this industry, everyone has their own path. Not everybody has to move across the country, but some people do. I recommend it for overall life experience and a better understanding of the country when we cover national issues. That has helped me and it's allowed me to make mistakes.