WIVB-TV (Channel 4) is back in the regularly scheduled sportscast game on its 6 p.m. news.
The return to a regular sportscast began Monday after almost a two-year absence under the previous regime under former News Director Scott Levy and former General Manager Rene LaSpina.
Dominic Mancuso, the new general manager, and news director Lisa Polster made the decision to return a traditional sportscast to the 6 p.m. newscast. The move is in keeping with Mancuso's stated goal of rectifying some decisions made by previous management.
"Buffalo is a strong sports market with two pro franchises," said Mancuso in a text. "While we reported sports in the 6, Lisa and I felt the 6 p.m. show should have a formal sports segment."
Levy said the decision to dump the regular 6 p.m. segment was made on the theory that any big sports story could be handled earlier in the newscast rather than wait until 6:23 p.m. or later to be addressed.
At the time of the May 2015 decision to dump the 6 p.m. sportscast, Levy said: “When looking closely at the landscape of local sports, Western New York viewers have access to sports news throughout the day on their computers, mobile devices and social media. If it’s an important sports story during the day, WNY viewers will not have to wait until 6:20 p.m. to see it on their TV.”
The dropping of the traditional sportscast seemed to be an illustration of how little respect sports gets in the newscast. But the traditional 6 p.m. sportscast often just shows highlights of games played the night before, previews a game to be played that night or airs a light feature to fill the time.
It is rarely must-see TV so it was somewhat understandable why Levy tried a move that has been done in other markets around the country and gave the station more time to cover news.
But Buffalo is pretty unusual: Its viewers like tradition and a regular sports report fits into that category. It is unclear if dropping the sportscast had any impact on the station's second-place 6 p.m. ratings.
The decision to return the 6 p.m. sportscast is good news for Sports Director Josh Reed and backup Tom Martin, who have been a big improvement on the station's previous sports team and now will receive more air time.