It looks the struggling Fox O&O WFLD in Chicago is about to have a big anchor shake up in an effort to boost the ratings.
Word is the station is looking to swap anchors for the 9PM newscast.
Current anchors Bob Sirott and Robin Robinson — both longtime local TV news talents — currently occupy those crucial anchor seats on the station's late newscast.
Robinson has been in the anchor chair since the 9PM newscast signed on the air.
But it has become apparent over the course of several years that — at least as an anchor team — they haven't been able to move Channel 32 out of its perennial last-place position in the weekday late local newscast ratings competition.
In the most recent June Nielsen ratings book, Channel 32's 9 p.m. newscast fronted by Sirott and Robinson pulled a 2.5 rating Monday through Friday, while Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9's late news — a direct competitor at 9 p.m. — scored a 4.0. Top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7's 10 p.m. newscast notched an 8.3 rating in June. One rating point equals 35,000 households in the Chicago market.
Channel 32 General Manager Dennis Welsh has been in place since January, and he brought on board a new station news director Tom Doerr in late February. Sources say Channel 32 has been looking at potential anchor candidates in recent weeks from outside the Chicago market — always a dicey proposition in a town that seems to prefer known commodities when it comes to anchor talent.
Both Robinson and Sirott are veterans of the local TV news scene, but when they were put together as anchor team by former general manager Michael Renda, there was no on-air chemistry between the two that might have helped the station achieve better news ratings. It didn't help that Renda made many other personnel changes in the newsroom during his tenure that helped create a very unsettled environment.
If Walsh and Doerr do move to make a change in 9 p.m. news anchors, Anna Davlantes could be another option up for consideration. Davlantes jumped from NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 several years ago to take on a high-profile role on Channel 32's late newscast. But Renda made the decision to move her to an anchor slot on the station's morning show "Good Day, Chicago."