A Cheektowaga native who has worked in small television markets in Maine and Georgia has been hired by WKBW-TV (Channel 7) to be a sports reporter and backup sports anchor.
Jenna Callari, currently a sports reporter and weekend sports anchor at WLTZ in Columbus, Ga., will be the replacement for Nick Filipowski, who is leaving Channel 7 at the end of the month. Columbus is the No. 127 market in the country, so Callari is making a big step up to the No. 53 market.
Like Filipowski, Callari will occasionally cover news as a multimedia journalist. She starts at the ABC affiliate on Aug. 14.
Her hiring means all three local network affiliates will have one female on-air covering sports. She joins Heather Prusak at Channel 2 and Shannon Shepherd at Channel 4.
According to Channel 7, Callari lived in Cheektowaga until she was 12, when her parents moved to Western Michigan. Growing up, she was naturally a Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres fan. She still has relatives in Western New York.
According to a biography on the WLTZ website, Callari has worked in Southeastern Conference (SEC) country for three years and is "well-known for her Scholar-Athlete segment during the high school sports season where she features area athletes who are excelling both on and off the field."
Callari majored in journalism at Michigan State University, where she interviewed basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio.
She began her broadcasting career in Presque Isle, Maine, which borders Canada, covering "everything from high school games to sled dog races to the annual Scottish Highland Games that take place in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick."
In three and a half years there, Callari won three Maine Association of Broadcasters Awards.