Local TV Sports Department Replaced by Radio Hosts

WGCL in Atlanta just announced it will turn over all of its sports reporting and coverage to the hosts and reporters working for a local sports talk radio network.

Here’s the coverage from the Atlanta Business Journal:

“This new relationship will make CBS Atlanta and Sports Radio 790 The Zone Atlanta’s best source for sports information,” said Steve Schwaid, news director of WGCL, in a statement. “It will allow CBS Atlanta to answer our viewers’ tough questions and deliver on our promise of providing the very latest news and information every night.”

What happens to the WGCL sports team? Only two are listed on the station’s website, Gil Tyree anchors weeknights, Mark Harmon on the weekends.  Does the announcement mean they’re gone? Will Harmon and Tyree anchor the 2 minute sports segment from news feeds? Or will the station have a camera set up in the Sports Zone radio booth for those segments?

Good questions.

I don’t buy the statement that the move will “allow CBS Atlanta to answer” viewer’s tough questions and “deliver on our promise of providing the very latest news and information every night.” You don’t make sports coverage better by not covering sports and turning it over to a radio station.

I imagine the station is saving money in this deal. Otherwise, why do it? Local television news used to be about being “essential to the viewers”. TV stations have wanted to brand anything and everything they do (weather, news, sports, traffic, community events, sponsorships, charities) as its own product. At WREG and WHNT, reporters were not simply reporters, they were WREG and WHNT’s reporters. For those 12 years I wasn’t just Jamey Tucker, I was WREG and WHNT’s Jamey Tucker, everywhere I went.

So this move to turn sports coverage over to another brand is contrary to what local stations have always done.

Will it work? Will viewers like the sports talk station handling tv sports duties? Will viewers miss the connection to a WGCL sports anchor or reporter?

I’m guessing other local tv stations are anxious to find out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.