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Local Sportscasters ‘Competing for a Slice of the Pie That Gets Smaller and Smaller’

Philadelphia Magazine takes a long look at the decline of local sports in the market, which one sportscaster calls “soul-crushing.” Sportscasters “are doing little more than reciting scores and highlights that are hours old” on the nightly newscasts, the article says:

“Twenty years ago, everybody sat down before or after dinner to watch Al or Gary Papa give them their sports news,”[WCAU sports director Vai] Sikahema says. “Now, you can get it anyplace: iPads, smartphones. We’re competing for a slice of pie that gets smaller and smaller.”

Back then, sports could get four minutes or occasionally more in a newscast. But trouble loomed in the form of market researchers, who told network news directors that the future was in weather, not highlights. Forecasts were moved up from the end of the newscast to the middle, and expanded.

“In those days, it was referred to as ‘news, weather and sports,’” says [KYW] sportscaster Steve Bucci. “Today, it’s more like ‘weather, news, weather and weather.’”

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