KHNL changes lineup for sportscast
The TV station will break up the segment and focus it locally
The sports segment of newscasts on KHNL News 8 is going away effective Thursday, April 26, the start of the May Nielsen ratings.
The station is not abandoning sports coverage, however.
Rumors have swirled that KHNL planned to eliminate sports from its newscasts, sparking skepticism about the station's commitment to local sports as well as concern for personnel.
"For the 40 or 50 years that people have been doing local television news, sports has been sort of the afterthought, at the end," said Dan Dennison, news director. "We are elevating sports into the body of the newscast."
No personnel will be cut, and the decision has no impact on its contract with the University of Hawaii in which sister station KFVE-TV televises UH sports, Dennison said.
What will be eliminated is the recitation of national scores, "runs, hits and errors," he said. "If you're a die-hard sports fan, you've already gotten that from ESPN, or whatever."
Dennison said coverage "will be hyper-local." Rather than a 2 1/2-minute sports segment with 1 1/2 minutes spent on local sports and one on national, all the time will focus locally.
"I expect we will be providing the same amount of time" to sports stories, he said.
"What we're really challenging our guys to do is to tell sports stories that have broader appeal to an audience," Dennison said.
Dennison notes that people who are not avid football-game or golf-tournament watchers enjoy sports-themed movies.
Local sports coverage tends to focus on the University of Hawaii or high school athletics, "but there's this rich variety of sports, humans, having great achievements -- and defeats in some cases too. This is about kind of getting back down to the roots," he said.
Viewers are likely to see Sports Director Russell Yamanoha and weekend sports anchor Reid Shimizu out and about during the news, as Dennison is, "getting our guys out in the field, out of the office, to find good sports stories with broader appeal."
There are many non-football and non-baseball sorts of sports ... stories involving people, he said.
"We have 22 minutes to tell all the news of the day and we need to do it as wisely and richly as we can," Dennison said.