City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

790/The Zone takes over sports for WGCL-TV

790 the zone logo

In a move that should save WGCL-TV a few bucks, the station is handing over all sports duties to 790/The Zone.

Veteran sports anchors Gil Tyree and Mark Harmon will be let go at some point early in the new year but will continue with their regular duties for the next few weeks.

“I have great respect for Gil and Mark,” said news director Steve Schwaid. “Btt we are now aligning ourselves with an organization that does sports 24/7 365 days a year. This will give us even more sports content over the next few years. I think this give us more flexibility in the world of sports. The analogy I use is how ABC News uses ESPN for its sports coverage.”

Many news stations in smaller markets have scaled back or cut sports segments completely out of their newscasts, especially at 11 p.m. Both General Manager Kirk Black , who created a similar alliance when he worked in Kansas City, and Schwaid said this outsourcing was a way to continue the same amount of sports coverage but free up cash to expand regular news programming.

In fact, Schwaid said they will be adding six people to the staff, including two more general assignment reporters. (WGCL is generally in fourth place overall among news operations and has had the least resources relatively speaking.)

The Zone will use its hosts for CBS Atlanta newscasts and original sports programming such as Sportsline, the SEC Wrap-Up Show and the CBS Atlanta Dawg Show. How this will be parsed out among the likes of Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini, the Stews and others has yet to be determined but should be in the coming weeks.

“The importance of old bread-and-butter local sports segments has continued to diminish,” noted Black, in this day and age of iPhone sports score access and online video and such. “No one is sitting around until 11:23 p.m. to find out whether their favorite team won or lost.”

Andrew Saltzman, president of 790/The Zone, said he’s excited by the prospect of working with WGCL. “We bring to the table credibility and equity in the sports game here,” he said. “And we are blessed with a stable of talent that virtually has all done television at some point.”

He is also psyched to know that CBS is the marquee home for next year’s Super Bowl, the Masters and SEC football games, to name a few.

57 comments Add your comment


October 28th, 2009
6:08 pm

Clueless Kirk Black. We called him that in Kansas City. You’ll call him that in Atlanta. Oh how we pine for the days of Andy Alford, Sue Schwartz and anyone else. Can you imagine having to look at Chris Dimino or Steak Shapiro?


October 28th, 2009
6:29 pm

New 11:00 sports anchor – Brisket Shapiro! Cost saving or contract time for Dagmar?


October 28th, 2009
6:39 pm

Channel 46 may have part of this right. Their two sports anchors are zero’s in this city. The Gil dude looks like a frog and Harmon resembles puppet with a bad haircut. How has survived all those years? Neither of them are worth a warm bucket of spit. Here is where WGCL has it wrong; 790 appeals to only men who live in their parents basement. 46 should partner with WABE. Let Lois and John talk sports it can’t be worse Shapiro or whomever.

The Mitch

October 28th, 2009
6:49 pm

Don’t tell me Steak Shapiro is going to be on the tv news…..Randi!!!!!


October 28th, 2009
7:00 pm

The only way adding a stable of guys to cover the same sports as two would be if the zone personalities as a group are working for free. I guess face time can’t hurt for exposure for the radio station, but call it what it is. Free labor.
It is disappointing that the most popular sport in this area, college football, will be covered by a bunch of guys from the north who really prefer the pro game. They pretend well though.
I hope that Steak is smart enough to stick to the radio. He is bad on TV and I think even he knows that. He’s obviously a pretty good business man though. I will never, ever, watch a broadcast of news on that station again if the put either of the illiterate Two Live Stews on the air. They really appeal to a more juvenile audience than should be desired by a news program.


October 28th, 2009
7:02 pm

While we’re at it let’s outsource 11 Alive’s Fred Kalild. I watch Conan O’Brien and get stuck with his sportscasting. Some nights he can’t speak clearly. And all the inside smarmy jokes what’s up with that? Send him away too.

The Breeze

October 28th, 2009
7:21 pm

Dittos to Janet. I don’t care for Fred K.
WGCL doesn’t need sports. No biggee

Peachtree Pete

October 28th, 2009
7:42 pm

If improving viewership and ratings was the plan, they should’ve gone with 680The Fan; much more knowledgeable personalities, better programming, stronger ratings. WGCL has screwed up…again.

Steak's Fat Head

October 28th, 2009
7:43 pm

Great. Guys from Boston, Cleveland and New Jersey covering local sports. Perfect.


October 28th, 2009
8:57 pm

I see Dimino and Slob-piro wearing hair pieces like Maury in Goodfellas. Seriously, how could they be any worse than the two shmegege’s reading the scores on WGCL the last decade.


October 28th, 2009
9:07 pm

It looks like the idiots in charge at WGCL are going out of their way to be as inept at sports as they are at the weather. But.. when you are in last place and the laughingstock of Atlanta TV, why even try??

Studie Baker

October 28th, 2009
10:25 pm

When was the last time anyone watched a local tv sportscast?


October 28th, 2009
10:49 pm

Please….this is nowhere near as dumb as two idiots who are fans of the Braves biggest rivals covering our Bravos for the next 5 years at 680 or having a bulldog hero in Buck Belue discuss Florida Gator football like he is really into it. Better personalities? yeah maybe if they were competing with an old folks home. The only show that is worth listening too on that station is not even a local show.

And really who is the least knowledgeable about sports than Christopher Rude? Steak is obnoxious, but is he really any different than Kincaid or Lorentino? Chris and Nick are the best sports personalities in Atlanta and I figure will be on the broadcasts the most.


October 28th, 2009
10:54 pm

Sports is a waste on local TV. They have little content and no value. HS Football on TV, what a joke. I only care about my kid’s team, not yours.

The sports radio folks will do a far better job.

and in this day and age of media cutbacks you have to give the company credit for spending the money on video I may want to actually watch. Getting rid of their local sports anchors wasn’t really a tough question.


October 28th, 2009
11:09 pm

Talk about rearranging the de3ck chairs on the Titanic!
Nobody watches CBS 46 and now they let the second ranked sports station take over on TV?
Ridiculous move.
The question remains which organization goes off the air first!


October 28th, 2009
11:12 pm

I concur with Gary, both station really are unlistenable, but put a gun to my head and i will choose 790, I still don’t know how Kincaid got a national show. If the Stews shouldn’t have a national show than neither should Kincaid. At least 790 has some diversity whereas as 680 is, well……!


October 28th, 2009
11:17 pm

‘GCL had to do something- anything, I guess- with their only “asset” about to walk out the door.

Granted, I kinda thought they’d just wander over to the Cheetah to find a replacement for Dag…
oh wait, are we not supposed to talk about that yet?


October 28th, 2009
11:35 pm

How bad was the tag team of Tyree/Harmon? So bad that radio guys seem like a reasonable alternative.

Chuckie D

October 28th, 2009
11:52 pm

Who even watches local sports, news, weather other than seeing what color/style or lack of hair that Queen Bee Monica is sporting?

Neither Gil or Mark will be missed—


CSI Duluth

October 29th, 2009
12:09 am

As bad as those 790 guys are on tv, could they really me any more uncomfotable than Zach Klein of Channel 2? Klein looks like he is about to pass out on tv. Maybe Zach is a radio guy and we didn’t know it.


October 29th, 2009
3:30 am

What a joke. Hey Gary what are you talking about? 680 is now the flagship of the Gators and Braves and will certainly shill for them but:

- 790 has a Bulldog-on the flagship station of the Yellow Jackets
-790 has hosts who hate the Hawks (Steakie and Cellini are openly Celtics fans) –on the Flagship of the Hawks
-790 has some relationship with the Falcons, with Dimino and Mike Bell rooting for the New York Giants
-The Stews don’t speak English
-Pollack sounds like he’s 12 and Bell is a 40 year old perv.
-Brandon and Woolvie-MY GOD MY EARS BLEED!

It is dumb and certainly cheap. Guess what Kincade, Perry nor Rude don’t need to be on TV either. Cheap labor and free plugs for 790. Yet another sign the economy has not recovered from its downturn.

Another reason for satellite radio and NFL network.

peter tinkham

October 29th, 2009
4:34 am

REUR WGCL-TV/790 … sounds a wee bit like this TV outlet going the same way that (old) WGST went! I gotta go you’re killing me!

No Brainer

October 29th, 2009
5:09 am

Looks like Shapiro’s head is going to get even bigger talking about how he and “The Zone” are taking over Atlanta Sports. Great, now we can hear more about his kid, where he ate last night, and the incessant name dropping on tv. Here’s something I “LEEEAARRRNED:” Don’t tune into CBS for sports coverage.

[...] Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that local sports radio 790 the Zone will he handling sports duties for a local television outlet… [...]

Dooley 34

October 29th, 2009
7:00 am

Maybe the GM at 46 hadn’t heard.Sports radio appeals to virtually no one in Atlanta. An excellent way to lure viewers. Talking hocks, fulcuns and bravos. Forget feature stories of community, gender, and hope. Let’s bring back 1972. Sweaty, hair back dudes who don’t know anything about sports beyond the pro’s.


October 29th, 2009
7:41 am

I guess this means that WGCL won’t be doing the weather updates for the Fan anymore during the Rude Awakening. And can this partnership even help WQXI? Seeing as how WGCL is fourth locally?


October 29th, 2009
9:02 am

The lowest rated local news, partnering with the lowest rated sports talk morons… sounds like a match made in heaven. I’m a 680 guy, Chuck and Chernoff do a great show and are fun to listen to. I try to listen to 790 but can’t get their signal near my house…

bulldog bubba

October 29th, 2009
9:37 am

WGCL tv news is PITIFUL!They want to be “in your face” hard hitting news oriented but have a woman doing weather who has no background.Did anyone notice they had the weekend person Chris Martinez doing the newscast when we had all the rain that week in September.He is a legetimate meteorologist.I turn to another station for news at 11 p.m. and then come back to Letterman if he has a decent guess on.As for the sports Mark Harmon was a good Sports Anchor before they brought in Gil Tyree.Turkeys attract turkeys!!!!


October 29th, 2009
9:59 am

I am just a sports fan with a little sports knowledge and a little more business knowledge. To me, it looks like the CBS network has some great brands (SEC Football, March Madness, etc) and 790 aligning themselves with those brands makes sense. When you throw in the exposure 790 receives from the relationship, it seems like a sound decision to me.


October 29th, 2009
10:32 am

Mark Harmon always makes me think of home. He looks like tv in Columbus, Georgia. What will Chellini look like on Atlanta tv? columbus, ohio. No thanks WGCL.

Jim n Buckhead

October 29th, 2009
10:46 am

It is an interesting concept…but the local news only allows about a 30sec slot for sports anyways and who watches it when sports center is on and showing every highlight or you can go to a sports news channel and see all the highlights….but I will say good job to Steak to get those guys fired….


October 29th, 2009
10:56 am

The only time anyone watches local news is when there are floods or a “chance of snow”. They should run Seinfeld or some other sitcom and only offer a local newscast when meaningful issues “crop up”. Otherwise, its just a loss leader for 11:30 programming….


October 29th, 2009
10:59 am

If it makes sense to outsource sports, and I think it does, then why not outsource other things like:

national news
Entertainment / BS stories

Just have a 7 minute top of the hour local segment and then have the rest of the time outsourced.

Why doesnt this make sense?

Radio Guy

October 29th, 2009
11:08 am

There is a reason why people have a face for radio


October 29th, 2009
11:15 am

ATL sportsfan is right. This is more of a move to align themselves with CBS Sports who is quickly becoming a great alternative to ESPN. The CBS Sports website is much better than ESPN and their sports content is second to none. No one does March Madness, SEC Football, or the Masters better. It is a win-win for both.

Billy, my comment about Kincaid and Lorentino being a part of the Braves flagship, yet they are fans of the teams two most hated rivals. They take every chance they can to bash the Braves. Lorentino even shows up at the Braves games with Mets apparel on and mocks the fans. Yeah, 790 has a Dawg covering GT, and Celtic fans covering the Hawks. But they don’t let their allegiances override the fact that they are covering Atlanta sports teams and are catering to Atlanta sports fans. The Falcons get an exceptional amount of coverage from the Zone and all personalities seem to be rooting for the team to win. You crap on Bell for being a Giants fan, but if you listen you would know that he has been a Falcon season ticket holder for the last several years. Sounds like a converted Falcons fan to me. Also, the Zone does have some personalities who actually went to GT. You know Ryan Stewart played at Tech right?

How can anyone crap on David Pollack when he has vastly improved on radio and his TV gigs? I really wished I could say the same for Leo.

Radio Guy

October 29th, 2009
11:16 am

790 is doing anything to let people know they are still in Atlanta because their signal is awful. Until they get the signal up, please get the signal up. Plus 790 shows love to basketball (as does Sporting News). There are 3 Dickey Stations and all I hear is baseball and college football, and very very little hoops.

kevin hunter

October 29th, 2009
11:16 am

Man, this is a nasty world-and, oddly enough, only a couple of you experts actually post your name with your biting commentary. pretty gutsy, I’d say.


October 29th, 2009
12:28 pm

Bring back Toucher, Rich, and Crash! They are better than anything on Atlanta radio!

Yo Yo Yo

October 29th, 2009
4:50 pm

Yo C … carrying water in the ATL for Toucher, Rich and Crash won’t get you much. If they were any good they would still be here live and local.

and the arraignment of 790 joining with 46 … both have low low rating so it should be a very interesting experiment.

and since 46 is a Meredith property maybe Shapiro can do features for House and Garden. [sorry couldn't help the shot cha cha]

Telling the future

October 29th, 2009
4:51 pm

Poor move by 46.
They would be better off with no sports and I am a huge sports fan. But lets be real, all you get on
local sports during the newscast is information you got off the internet hours ago.
Now you will have some butt clowns from 790 having a cirucs on 46
What a joke.


October 29th, 2009
5:49 pm

@Peathtree Pete I agree
@Telling the Future-you are telling the truth

@ Gary-Pollack, Ryan Stewart, Michael Irvin, Teddy Bruschi and the like are all on tv. Not because they are great or good broadcasters…BUT BECAUSE THEY PLAYED FOOTBALL!!! If you think Pollack or anyone at 790 is a great TV Broadcaster, then you will be one of the 3 people watching them.

This is no power move, this is the TV station with the worst ratings in town, having talent from the worst sports talk station in town (Check the ratings that Rodney posts) do a job for a lower price. You’ll get what you pay for which in this case, is a joke.

Peachtree Pete

October 29th, 2009
5:55 pm

Rather have talent than diversity…any day. Now, talented diversity, that’d be okay.

coach smith

October 29th, 2009
6:34 pm

680 the fan is FAAAARRRRR superior than 790the Zone…this reeks of desperation by 790 to stay relevant (it is the same reason they hired Pollock and put him on opposite Belue)

Elliot Garcia

October 29th, 2009
7:08 pm

If they were smart, Dagmar would cover sports with Erin Andrews!

Beau Bock

October 29th, 2009
8:01 pm

I’m just hoping Steakie will give me a little TV time if I keep waxing his chest for him.

Prestige Worldwide

October 29th, 2009
8:58 pm

CBS-46 should’ve hired Dale Doback and Brennan Huff to do sports.


October 29th, 2009
9:39 pm

I agree that Dagmar does not belong in a weather department in a city this big. A while ago she did not know the differenve between a tornado watch or a tornado warning. How in the world can a tv station in a city this big try to get any kind of ratings with a meteorologist in prime time who has no qualifications whatsoever. No wonder they are ranked at the bottom of the totem pole.

Mr. A

October 29th, 2009
10:02 pm

I get together with several guys every Thursday night and just got home and to a man we said that we would NEVER watch channel 46 again. Only about twenty of us but word spreads quick! Bad Bad move!!!!!

Real Radio

October 29th, 2009
11:46 pm

Bring back Terry Chick. Oh, and this blog is lame.


October 30th, 2009
6:20 am

Thanks Terry.