Rosen, WCCO see no merit in talk of move

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2008 - 8:37 AM

The TV sports anchor isn't planning to leave, and the station says he isn't going anywhere.

Maybe it's because Paul Douglas recently was dismissed as WCCO-TV's chief weather guy. Or perhaps it's because KSTP is going to have an opening for a main sports anchor with Rod Simons' departure slated for October.

Whatever the reason, the rumor that won't seem to die is that longtime WCCO sports anchor Mark Rosen might be leaving the station. Rosen, while very aware of the pinch many media companies are feeling these days, said Thursday that he has no plans to depart nor does he expect to be shown the door in a series of budget-cutting moves being made by CBS.

"I have zero qualms about what's happening with me," Rosen said. "I'm very comfortable and confident about my present and future here. ... If anything they've been bending over backward to tell me how important I am. You don't ever want to get secure about anything, but we're just trying to rally around the situation and stay upbeat. That's the way we're approaching it."

Rosen, who also is employed by KFAN Radio (1130 AM), started doing behind-the-scenes work for WCCO (Ch. 4) in 1970 after graduating from St. Louis Park High School. He became a regular on air in the late 1970s and took over as the station's main sports anchor a few years later.

While it might make sense that Hubbard-owned KSTP could have interest in Rosen, the reality is that he has just less than two years remaining on his contract and the non-compete language built into such deals would mean a lengthy on-air absence.

"No one over there has been in contact with me, nor would I expect them to be," Rosen said of KSTP. "That's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned."

WCCO news director Scott Libin, who formerly held the same job at KSTP, made it clear that Rosen isn't going anywhere. "If there was anything to it I'd know, and I don't," Libin said. "There's nothing. Honest."

Libin added that Rosen's longevity is key to viewers.

"That has become so exceptionally rare in TV that it's hard to even put a value on it," he said. "You look at the turnover most stations go through. We all have access to the same fundamental content when it comes to sports, so it really is the unique talent that makes the difference and distinguishes one TV station from another."

Fine-tuning

• Comcast spokesman Dave Nyberg said a problem with a video router was the reason the cable company missed showing FSN North's coverage of the first inning of the Twins' 13-1 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday. The glitch happened after a 1-hour, 44-minute rain delay and meant viewers ended up seeing an NBA playoff game on the channel that should have been showing Carlos Gomez hitting a leadoff home run. The Twins center fielder went on to hit for the cycle. The problem was fixed after the first inning but occurred again for about 30 seconds in the sixth.

"Repairs were made [Thursday] so the situation should be taken care of," Nyberg said.

• Former NHL coach Don Cherry, best known for his work on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada," has been hired by ESPN to appear on "SportsCenter" during the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Finals. Mark Gross, an ESPN senior vice president, said there have been no discussions about using Cherry beyond this spring.

"We're curious to see how it goes," Gross said. "We'll revisit it for next season when we get there."

• There appears to be a chance NBC Sunday night football voice Al Michaels could be adding another play-by-play gig. Newsday reports the NFL Network is targeting Michaels to replace Bryant Gumbel on its eight telecasts this season.

• Eric Nelson of WCCO Radio (830 AM) will begin doing some work as a sports reporter for WCCO-TV. With Bob Rainey on leave from the station, Rosen and Mike Max have been doing almost all of the on-air sports work.

• The Twins will make back-to-back appearances Sunday and Monday night on ESPN when they face the Red Sox at Metrodome. Both games will be available to viewers in the Twin Cities.

Judd Zulgad • jzulgad@startribune.com

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