GM Addresses Recent Sports Talk

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 76 views 

In an emailed response to questions from Whispers discussing recent personnel changes at KFSM-TV, Channel 5, in Fayetteville and Fort Smith, president and general manager Van Comer addressed scuttlebutt about the future of the station’s sports department.

The CBS affiliate announced earlier this month the contract of sports director John Engleman was not going to be renewed. Even more surprising was news that Mike Irwin, the state’s sports television dean with nearly four decades of perspective, was also let go.

A prominent rumor was the station would be folding its sports reports in with the news, eliminating sports anchors altogether. Apparently that is the national trend, we heard.

Flat wrong, Comer says. In fact, the station is in the process of hiring a sports director for Fayetteville and a sports photographer in Fort Smith.

Including current sports anchor Jonathan Huskey, the new staff will give KFSM four people dedicated to sports, split evenly between Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Comer said that aside from coverage, scores and highlights, the station’s focus will be on telling more stories about local athletes at every age.

“The rumors of our sports demise were exaggerated,” Comer said. “Yes, we made a significant change and that is never easy; [however] our viewers will see our sports coverage improve and increase as we make new hires over the summer and gear up for a new season.”