Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sue Ann Robak Exiting WEWS

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...


Mike Golch said...


74WIXYgrad said...

The sound you are now hearing is Nev Chandler and Gib Shanley turning over in their graves.

First in Ohio, last in sports!

Andrew said...

The sports reporting on channel 5 was already crummy, and this won't help.

In their 11PM newscast, a 2 minute or less sports segment is followed by at least 5 minutes of commercials, then a 30 second slot for alarmist Mark Johnson to recap the weather with an additional 20" of lake effect snow, another 5 minutes of commercials, and then a 10 second goodbye before Nightline comes on.

Once in a while I do watch 5 at 11PM, but as soon as the sports comes on I usually switch it to 3 because their sports coverage is more comprehensive.

Tricounty said...

Just like here in Canton- WHBC showed the door to 6 people; and very well-liked on-air people, as well as great people behind the scenes.

For those of you who remember "The Dating Show" back in the 70's, Jim Albright was one of those shown the door- even though he was very popular in his afternoon gig at HBC. Oh well- we still have Dennis Miller.... Come on, Next Media, give us a break!!!

InkStainedWretch said...

One more bloodletting in print media. Elyria Chronicle and Medina Gazette are merging, cutting about 40 percent of combined staff. Move happens Tuesday.

Tim Lones said...

Interesting about Channel 5 being down to 2 sports reporter/anchors..

I was watching KTWO-2, the ABC affiliate in Casper, Wyoming the other night. Their "K-2 News", according to station promos, have THREE regular sports people. This in a state with very little college sports and no pro sports in the state at all..While in a big market like Cleveland, with so much happening..They think they can get by with only 2?..Unbelieveable..

Ohio Media Watch said...

Here's the problem, Tim:

The Wyoming station has plenty of things to cover that get almost no play on ESPN, Fox Sports or otherwise.

Cleveland sports live and die by the region's three major professional teams, the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers, which get plenty of national coverage.

It's been said for some time that ESPN has basically taken the sports highlights away from the local stations, so if the Cavs beat the Pistons, you can see highlights from it (if you missed the live game) earlier than 11 PM on all of the above national networks.

Wyoming? They're lucky to get their highlights on cable sports networks at all...

--The Management

Tim Lones said...

I actually hadnt considered the ESPN angle.Very good point there.

It is interesting to watch KTWO News..While the anchors seem competent enough, they all look to be about 18 years old..Most of them fresh out of college..Or from non-air positions in larger Western Markets..Also hard to realize how big Wyoming actually is till you see their local weather maps..

Tim Fair said...

My wife and I are very disappointed here that Sue Ann Robak's contract wasn't renewed. We felt she was one of the best reporters in the Cleveland area and always made a point to be sure we had channel 5 on for the news and sports. We'll be surprised if many of your loyal supporter don't switch stations. Tim