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

How is CBS affiliate WGCL’s sports coverage with 790/The Zone working?

wgcl tv logo

Last Thursday’s 11 p.m. newscast on Fox 5 (WAGA-TV) featured nearly three minutes of sports coverage, including the UGA-Vanderbilt basketball game and the Braves.

Over at ABC affiliate WSB-TV, Zach Klein fed stories from Braves spring training in Orlando while Anthony Amey talked about college basketball and the Hawks.

NBC’s WXIA-TV gave plenty of time to the Olympics since the network is airing it.

CBS affiliate WGCL-TV? Sports was absent – unless you count a passing reference to a PETA billboard mocking Tiger Woods.

gil TyreeWGCL earlier this month shut down its sports department and handed the reins to sports talk radio station 790/The Zone. (Sportscasters Mark Harmon and Gil Tyree – left – lost their jobs.) This means virtually no sports Monday through Thursday with spot coverage over the weekend, plus a Saturday evening sports talk show featuring Zone personalities.

News director Steve Schwaid said he was able to take monies saved from sports and beef up other local news coverage, adding reporters and producers.

“Nobody sits around anymore waiting for sports highlights at 11 o’clock,” he said. Rather, fans now have easy access to such info via the Web, their iPhone and ESPN SportsCenter.

So far, Schwaid said the absence of sports weekdays has resulted in a “negligible” reaction: “I have not gotten one phone call.” (WGCL newscasts are typically third or fourth place among the networks, though they often do better in the evenings.)

Sports is the least popular feature on local news, with a mere 15 percent of viewers polled interested in the topic, said Michael Castengera, senior lecturer at the University of Georgia and a consultant to TV stations (though none in Atlanta).

“A lot of stations are getting out of sports business or forging partnerships like WGCL,” Castengera said. “Sports is covered like news if it’s a big sporting event but otherwise, it’s not news.”

WGCL-TV, for instance, used the Zone the day Woods made a public apology for his personal indiscretions, bringing in Zone mid-day host Jeff Woolverton to talk about Woods’ speech for the 4 p.m. newscast.

The Zone isn’t making much money off this and pay for the radio personalities will be minimal. But Steak Shapiro, a Zone morning host and station co-owner, sees this as a great cross-promotional tool and plans to set aside more resources during the football season for WGCL.

The other stations in town say they remain committed to keeping sports in house. “We’ve shifted from sports on a global basis to local teams, the colleges and prep sports,” said Gene McHugh, WAGA general manager. “Our sports guys are busier than ever.” Staffing over the years, in fact, has gone up, he said.

McHugh wasn’t willing to slag WGCL, merely dubbing it “an interesting experiment.”

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36 comments Add your comment

Coach Cool

March 1st, 2010
10:49 am

First!…. wrong blog…


March 1st, 2010
11:03 am

WGCL – what a channel – a weather anchor, who is not a meterologist, but fills out a sweater nicely and ditching sports. LOL – no wonder no they have no viewers.


March 1st, 2010
11:11 am

The WAGA sports guys are busier than ever for fear of getting blackballed like the last sports anchor at Fox 5. We treat our guys different over here.

Drunken White Man

March 1st, 2010
11:42 am

Oh great another opportunity to see that doooouche bag Steak Shapiro’s BIG FAT UGLY FACE on TV. 790 the Zone is horrible, hate them all except for Cellini.


March 1st, 2010
11:57 am

Sports tend to be seasonal. No one watches a local news station for national sport news but come football season, people would watch the local station to hear extended coverage of Falcons and UGA then the one minute they get on ESPN.

The Truth

March 1st, 2010
12:11 pm

Unless Mike Bell does a party segment, this is a total loss for this station. Except for Bell and Cellini, it is now a total snooze fest at 790. Don’t believe me? Just check the last ratings book for yourself. And with baseball season coming up, get ready for your cure of insomnia…Chris Dimino, the most boring over analyzer there has ever been. God help us!!!


March 1st, 2010
1:32 pm

A Mike Bell fan? Maybe I’ll spot a unicorn or a four leave clover today as well. He never shuts up.


March 1st, 2010
2:42 pm

790 sucks, fox 5 sports in your face they cover high school sports local which cbs dont and if i watch cbs it would be because of Dagmar.

Southside Sal

March 1st, 2010
3:20 pm

Can they do more weather stories with Dagmar—her body makes even bad weather seem good!


March 1st, 2010
3:23 pm

The Truth is right sadly. I always like listening to Bell and Cellini, but the rest of the station makes you want to change the channel. Add to that the fact that we are now into spring training, march madness is set to take off next week, and the U.S. just hauled in the most medals they have ever achieved in one winter Olympics and what are we fed by Steak and the gang? The occasional sob story and 90% football talk. Seriously, football season is over and the draft isn’t until late April. Who cares if the combine was this past weekend. If I wanted to watch a track meet, I would go watch the local high school track team. A million dollars isn’t on the line for them and they seem to give it more effort.


March 1st, 2010
3:25 pm

Also – Fox 5 has the best local sports with WXIA coming in a close 2nd. More high school and local stories compared to professional stuff that I can pull off of a zillion channels on DirecTV.


March 1st, 2010
3:40 pm

I like 11 sports better. Buck is much better than Rodriguez on the anchor desk. The fake comedy is hard to watch. I switch their roles.

john francis

March 1st, 2010
3:56 pm

Enter your comments here


March 1st, 2010
4:00 pm

Fox 5 gets it. They cover local teams, local high schools, local everything. I can watch what Channel 2 does on ESPN…but Fox gets more time and does more with it.

bulldog bubba

March 1st, 2010
5:23 pm

I like channel 11 sports.Channel 46 is a loser period.The reporters have that ‘I hate you look” on their faces.I gave them a try during the Olympic’s and found the newscast to be subpar – just one “i’m gonna get you” story after the other and NO SPORTS!! The news director may think that everyone goes to ESPN but I don’t care for them.Who wants to sit through an hour of two guys trying to out do each other with their best one-liners.Give me local guys doing their best to cover a story with local flavor.You want viewers then go to the schools and give some student atheletes an award.You have made a friend and a loyal viewer for your station.Who wants “nationalized news”.The country is being pushed into health care,banks,car companys,etc. all being run by the leaders of this country, can’t we keep something for ourselves?BOO CHANNEL46!!!!!!!!!!!!

nwo keith

March 1st, 2010
6:01 pm

Can the 2 live stews get some love in this mickey fickey?


March 1st, 2010
6:57 pm

Agree on Landford. I like him better than Ken. I hope he gets a chance to shine full time in the anchor chair.


March 1st, 2010
9:38 pm

Gary – agree about the Zone veering into parody about what it regards as sports news. While flipping stations this morning, I heard Cellini and the producer (John?) who apparently doubles as a weekend host (and presumably washes Shapiro’s car) boasting about having no interest in the U.S.-Canada gold medal game, with “John” sneering he only had time to watch that classic Hawks-Bucks game yesterday. Of course U.S.-Canada only drew a higher rating than the 2010 Daytona 500, 2009 Masters, highest rated game of the 2009 World Series and highest rated game of the 2009 NBA Championship. No wonder a “sports” talk station with a fixation on only what its hosts like (let’s hear some more about what Steak had for dinner, the Pats and the Red Sox!) is in a ratings death spiral. Being the sports staff for a TV station that has no room for sports is a perfect fit for Steak and the crew.


March 1st, 2010
11:00 pm

Get this! GCL just hired a sports producer! Talk about a cushy gig. Work one day a week. Yeesh, what a life.

The Ghost Of Mike Vick's Dogs

March 2nd, 2010
1:57 am

@Dan-I totally agree. Why would you admit to not watching one of the highest rated and most anticipated sporting events of the Olympics on a Sports Talk station? That’s like a news anchor saying they didn’t watch earthquake news because the like blue jean bandit stories better. Idiots.

It’s because everything at 790 centers on the hosts. I stopped listening about 2 years ago. Steak is the owner, Program Director, sales manager, and Chief of promotions…no wonder the station is so bad.

It’s really sad. The economy has wiped-out newscasters like Gil Tyree and Mark Harmon. While they weren’t great, they were certainly qualified and professional. Neither one of them is a jerk like Steak Shapiro. I liked Gil’s work after UGA games.

WGCL is awful. They put Dagmar in tight shirts to do weather like that will save them-Glenn Burns is not sexy but he is a meteorologist and great at his job! Dagmar is a personality and an actress! I believe she was in Catwoman. Could she at least be qualified as a meteorologist?!

790 The Zone is a station full of unprofessional people, this will fail in the end.


March 2nd, 2010
10:47 am

John – I totally agree about Fox 5. What I really like about their sports coverage is they don’t feed everything in one segment. With the way their 5pm and 6pm news casts are done, they can fit two sports segments in and show a lot of good stuff. Their 10pm and 11pm News Edge segments are well done as well. They put a lot of effort into it and do showcase more local stuff than the other stations; though WXIA and Fred Kalil do good in that regard as well.

@ Dan – man you are preaching to the quire. I was a Zone fan and have listened to them since 2000. However, within the last year the station has really dropped off as far as personality goes. Bell is still funny and can listen to him most of the time, however, the station seems to want him to do nothing but constantly talk football with Pollack and spend maybe 3-5 minutes a show on other sports. The Mayhem show has dropped sharply as far as quality goes since both Sandra left and Bell was moved. I used to listen just for entertainment value, but now I cannot go 3 minutes without having to change the channel because of something irrelevant. For some reason Cellini has become so judgmental as if he has been this saving grace his entire life, Dimino has always been boring except when interviewing or talking baseball (which the Zone doesn’t seem to want to do anymore), and Steak is just Steak – obnoxious and boring. This Michaels guy should be laying brick and mortar on a job somewhere and not really sure why someone gave him a job doing radio as he has no personality. I was a loyal Zone listener for a long time, but it is becoming increasingly hard to listen to them anymore.

The Fan is okay. Chuck and Chernoff are always a great duo and where when they did the old Southern Comfort show at the Zone back in the day. Not sure why Steak and Saltzman let those two go. Rude being back makes the morning show better. I can listen to Buck and Kincaid much because Kincaid is no better than Steak when it comes to being a narcissist and even though Buck is a DGD, listening to him for a long period of time makes my ears bleed. I am still surprised that after 10 years both stations are still able to compete and stay on the air in Atlanta.

As for 46 WGCL, not a smart move. You’ll have guys who are part of the Tech flagship station doing commentary on UGA and SEC games that get aired on CBS in the fall. Have fun getting anyone to stay around listening to the post game commentary.


March 2nd, 2010
11:30 am

Sports talk radio in Atlanta is the best promoter of satelite radio around. Two full-time stations, but not enough on-air talent for one. ESPN, please give Kincaid a fulltime job..what a tool.


March 2nd, 2010
1:10 pm

Anybody who thinks Mike Bell is funny truly needs to get out of mom and dad’s basement a little more often. His most annoying trait is laughing at his own stale humor. I hang out with guys who are funnier than him.

Danny Del

March 2nd, 2010
5:13 pm

790 is like the losers that graduated High School in 2000 and still hang around campus. Every routine is washed up: Angry Nick,Party Boy Bell, The Sky is Falling Steak, Gansta Stews…Plus I hear that this new chump John Michaels?? is a total zero. Also, they have some show with the fat guy from the Moning Mess and some dude who go the job because his wife works at the station.


March 2nd, 2010
5:58 pm

How lame….. they haven’t received one call. How can anybody call if they don’t watch? They trashed the weather department by trying to pass off Dagmar Midcap as a meteorologist. Who do they think they are fooling? Then they let the sports department go and they have no clue as to why they suck so bad and have no ratings. Are they crapping in the face of what viewers they have left intentionally? Geez, get a clue people!

Lenny K

March 2nd, 2010
6:47 pm

The atlanta radio scene—totally weak and stale. Sports “talk”—much more like a bunch of has been guys talking movies, women, sex lives, ….. — little real sports talk. But, in a loser town like atlanta, where race drives everything, what do you expect. Move to New York to catch real radio, nonstop, all types. This stuff down here—-embarrassing.


March 2nd, 2010
7:44 pm

I can see the conversation in the general manager’s office going like this:

(General Manager) Wow, our ratings really suck, what should we do?

(News Director) Well, how about if we hire somebody who knows nothing about weather to be the head meteorologist?

(General Manager) Great idea. let’s do it.

Months later……….
(General Manager) Gee, the ratings still suck. What can we do to improve them?

(News Director) I have a great idea, let’s get rid of the sports department.

End of story


March 3rd, 2010
8:28 am

Ohhhhhh NO!

The only time any real reporting goes on is when there is a scandal.

Having a SportsCaster deliver the news is so much better than a “NEWS READER” trying to call play-by-play on a video clip.

The local high schools like to see their kids on TV and it’s good to see on Friday Nights.

Rather than cut the sports the department – why didn’t they get creative and do things like ENCOURAGE people to get out and play sports – do segments tied to Health and Nutrition – NOBODY ELSE is encouraging us to get up off our fat butts and EXCERCISE.

Now we get to have the FAT GUYS on 790 the Zone tell us about – more drama – Tiger, who got a DUI, and who is being traded. and a few Braves stories, and the highlights from the Hawks — uhhhh woopie.

Saves money yes — but then we know what happend to the last NETWORK that tried to save money by changing things around at 10:00–


Ground Beef

March 3rd, 2010
12:28 pm

790 THE DADDY… go back up North and take those two egg plants with ya!


March 3rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Steak has to go…..what a jerk – Saw him at Costco; jerk in person too. Mike Bell needs to defect to 680 and pair up with Chuck again – they are a priceless pair. And they need to replace Buck and Old (POS) Kincaid in the afternoon. Turn off the lights at 790 – it was never good.


March 3rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Steaky – When will you learn….no one cares about the Pats, Soxs, Celtics or Bruins down here – or what you ate for breakfast lunch or dinner or where you plan to eat your next meal……you are a 3rd banana at best….


March 3rd, 2010
5:05 pm

Enter your comments here

More Dagmar

March 3rd, 2010
5:06 pm

I could take a lot more of CBS 46 if they have Dagmar doing more in those tight sweaters!! YES!!!

CBS Sports

March 4th, 2010
12:13 am

Here is a suggestion, Let Dagmar do sports as well!

The Ghost Of Mike Vick's Dogs

March 4th, 2010
9:56 am

I don’t care what a sportscaster looks like if they are good at their job. I can see a decent rack anywhere I want in this town so I don’t need Dagmar to get my rocks off. If she knows sports then I say put her in a role, but don’t put her anywhere to show off her “girls”, its weak.

ESPN has plenty of female reporters and sportscasters who are great at their jobs and don’t have to objectify themselves to get attention. They are professionals. Why doesn’t Dagmar just put out a calendar if she wants attention for her looks? Somehow I think we will get more Steak Tv which is pathetic. I won’t watch and neither will most of Atlanta either.


April 10th, 2010
11:05 pm

Seriously, the Zone guys are horrible on TV. Nick looks pretty natural but Dimino is downright awful. What’s with the deer in headlights staring at the camera robotic look? He looks so awkward it’s uncomfortable to even watch him. Tonight he couldn’t even sit in a chair properly. I thought JW was going to be a disaster but he is actually mediocre. All in all it’s a trainwreck and comes off like a public access show.