News of an opening in the sports department at Channel 13 generally generates plenty of interest, according to news director Brian Trauring, and the imminent departure of sports reporter/part-time anchor Dave Chudowsky is another example.
Chudowsky announced a week ago that he will be leaving the local ABC affiliate, WTVG-TV, at the end of November.
Trauring has already received dozens of inquiries about the position. "There's been a lot of interest," Trauring said. "It's actually surprised me. There's been more than I expected.
"But there are a lot of people [in the business] that when one of those sports positions open up they're interested in it."
Chudowsky, who worked seven years at Channel 13, will join the Ohio News Network sports staff in Columbus at the beginning of December. His departure leaves Trauring searching for someone with skills to work not only in front of the camera but also behind it.
"It's a very unusual position because the person has to be able to report and be proficient at shooting and editing and also fill in as an anchor for Rob [Powers] and Katrina [Hancock]," Trauring said. "The good news is, we've had a very good response."
With November sweeps on the horizon and the local sports scene rather hectic around that time, Trauring said the search process to find Chudowsky's replacement is well in the works. He has already looked over dozens of resume tapes. In fact, he's begun to narrow the list of candidates down to a group of finalists.
"But we're not quite there yet," he said.
Preferably, Trauring would like to have someone in place weeks before Chudowsky leaves. It would help make the transition a little less hectic. That was the case nearly a year ago when former Channel 13 weekend anchor Ryan Burr departed in November to go work for Fox Sports Net in Pittsburgh. His replacement, Hancock, came on board just before the Ohio State-Michigan football game.
As for Chudowsky's departure, Trauring admits the Cleveland native will be missed. "Dave's done a great job," he said. "If he weren't talented, he wouldn't be going to Columbus."
According to Nielsen Media Research, Toledo ranks as the 70th-largest television market in the country.
'Sports Train' derailed
The last installment of the Sports Train, a 10-minute segment of local and national sports news featured at the end of Channel 11's Sunday night newscast, came last Sunday. The need to focus more on hard news is apparently the reason behind putting an end to one of the more comprehensive and entertaining weekly sports segments airing locally.
"We want to go back to a more traditional news format," said Mitch Jacob, news director for the local CBS affiliate, WTOL-TV. "With all the news that is happening, both around the world and locally, there's a great need for the news segment."
Channel 11's sports segment on Sunday nights is hosted by weekend sports anchor Gary Sensenstein. Starting tomorrow the segment will be trimmed from roughly 10 minutes to approximately six and will not close out the newscast.
Yet Jacob doesn't think taking four minutes away from the segment will diminish what Sensenstein can do with less air time.
"We're still giving sports on the weekend a substantial amount of time for local and national coverage," he said.
The New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox American League Championship Series will dominate prime time on Channel 36 this weekend. The AL rivals are scheduled to square off today and tomorrow at 7:30 for Games 3 and 4.
The National League Championship Series games between Houston and St. Louis will begin about 4:30 p.m. both days.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will look at the Middle East's sport of camel racing and ties to enslaving boys to become camel jockeys. Native American Olympic legend Billy Mills discusses his activism against the use of Native Americans as mascots by high school, college and professional sports teams during another segment of Real Sports, which airs Tuesday night at 10 on HBO.