Monday, December 07, 2009

Outsourced Sports

WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach has canned its sports staff and handed its sports coverage to a local radio station, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Axing sports departments was once the province of bottom-feeding stations throwing in the towel on a segment of the audience it was never going to reach. But West Palm's NBC affiliate is a long-time powerhouse in that market, just like WFLA in Tampa was when it decided it could get by with just one on-air sports anchor. Instead of outsourcing to a radio station, WFLA shares sports reporters with the Tampa Tribune — which, like WFLA, is owned by Media General.

WFLA does still have a sports photographer. The Post article does not explain how a radio station is going to put together video highlights and stories or how a guy whose afternoon drive radio show begins at 4 o'clock will do TV segments at 5 and 6.

Not that it matters. One reader comment to the WPTV story sums up a growing attitude toward sports among many stations: "nothing personal... but ch 5’s sports was a minute or two of headlines... my 8 yr old could do it and for $100 a week... welcome to the new economy."

The TV station probably figured that no one was watching that "minute or two of headlines" so why not put someone on who will promote his appearance on the radio all afternoon. Click here to see a clip of the radio host Even Cohen who will now tackle TV duties.

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