KSTP won't keep TV sports anchor

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 25, 2008 - 10:32 PM

Rod Simons, who has been with the station since 2003, said he plans to explore opportunities in the Twin Cities.

KSTP-TV will have a new lead sports anchor this fall.

The station informed Rod Simons that his contract won't be renewed when it expires in October.

"The thought process behind [the decision] is we want to take sports in a different direction than it's currently going," KSTP news director Lindsay Radford said Friday. "We think there are some things we can do to enhance sports and make sports a little more relevant to the average viewer. We feel we need to make some changes in order to get to that destination."

While CBS-owned WCCO (Ch. 4) recently let go of some on-air members in an attempt to cut costs, Radford made it clear this was not a similar situation. She said Simons will be replaced and that KSTP (Ch. 5), which is locally owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, will continue to employ three on-air members in sports. Reporters Ryan Kibbe and Anne Hutchinson will be considered for the top job.

Simons said Friday that he already has "a lot of exciting opportunities" inside and outside of television and wants to keep his family in the Twin Cities. He expressed no animosity toward station officials and pointed out he's being given time to find a new job.

"I love the people I work with," he said. "They are great people, but I'm also an opportunity guy. ... There are some exciting things out there."

Although it seems unlikely, there is an outside chance Simons could be offered the opportunity to remain at KSTP in a different on-air capacity.

Simons joined KSTP in October 2003 after working in the Seattle market for 15 years. He took over as the main sports anchor on an interim basis in February 2005 after Joe Schmit became a news anchor. Simons was named to the permanent position in July 2005.

Radford said an exact date for Simons' last day in his current job has not been decided.

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