OMW has confirmed that WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" sports reporter/anchor Sue Ann Robak is working her last week at the Cleveland ABC affiliate.
We hear that Robak's contract isn't being renewed, and that Friday will be her last day at Scripps-owned Channel 5. We're also hearing that she won't be replaced, and that the "NewsChannel 5" sports department will shrink to just two people - sports director Andy Baskin and reporter/anchor Terry Brooks.
Though WEWS has indeed managed to become the only local Cleveland TV news operation to avoid direct layoffs, Scripps - along with every other major TV station ownership group - is trying to cut costs amid the cratering advertising market and the faltering economy.
We reported on the company's efforts to cut costs just last week. Note the phrase "hiring freeze" in that item, which explains Ms. Robak not being replaced.
And not renewing an already-expiring contract is a pretty straightforward way to do just that. (Remember, struggling Gannett didn't come to a renewal agreement with now-former WKYC/3 anchor Tim White, opting instead to elevate anchor Romona Robinson to primary solo anchor for most newscasts.)
When we say WEWS will opt for a two-person sports department, we mean that quite literally. OMW hears that an off-air sports producer was moved into a news producing role, and wasn't replaced.
So, when your Cleveland Cavaliers are once again hoping to drive to an NBA title, and when the Cleveland Indians open their regular season at Progressive Field in April, it'll be up to Baskin and Brooks to juggle long schedules...much like Robak did herself when she was the ONLY member of the "NewsChannel 5" on-air sports staff.
Remember our phrase for her? "The Overworked Sue Ann Robak"? We'll be able to apply that phrase to Mr. Baskin and Mr. Brooks soon...