Rawlings takes Atlanta news/sports gig

Courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Since anchor Bill Gaines abruptly quit CBS Atlanta in May, 2009, the station has left Stephany Fisher as the solo anchor at 11 p.m.

But more than three years later, the station (WGCL-TV) has finally found its man: Guy Rawlings from the NBC affiliate WESH-TV in Orlando.

(Is that a broadcaster name or what? Old-timers in this town will remember another notable “guy”: the late great WXIA meteorologist Guy Sharpe. “People don’t believe that’s my real name,” Rawling said, “but I’m actually Guy Rawlings Jr.”)

“I’m really excited and a little bit anxious,” Rawlings said in an interview today. “I wanted to try something different, look for a new challenge. A lot of my friends who are sports anchors are unemployed. Local sports seems to be shrinking. This opportunity is a hybrid of news and sports. I had to jump on it!”

Better yet, his parents live in Johns Creek. “This will be the first time we’re in the same city since high school!” he said.

According to Rawlings’ bio on WESH-TV, he joined Orlando’s station in 2007 from nine years in Miami. Before that, he’s worked in Baltimore, Charleston, S.C., Jacksonville, Fla. and Gainesville, Fla. He has been in the business 19 years. He did fill-in news anchoring in Miami so this new gig will not be entirely new to him.

His final day in Orlando is Dec. 23 and his start date at CBS Atlanta is sometime in January, 2012.

He will also take one of the three late afternoon/early evening newscast anchor slots but it has not been determined which one, according to Kenny Lawrence, head of programming. (Kim Fettig and Jaquitta Williams will continue to be afternoon anchors.)

He is hoping to learn from Fisher: “I think my presentation skills are pretty strong but I look forward to getting even strong, especially next to Stephany.”

Rawlings will also be a “sports host,” according to the press release. That role will be limited primarily to the football season, Lawrence said.

“He won’t be doing sports reporting in terms of sports segments in the news,” Lawrence said. “But we have all these weekend sports programs. He will join that staple of talent.”

This is an interesting development because CBS Atlanta outsourced its sports coverage to 790/The Zone two years ago (dumping Gil Tyree and Mark Harmon) and has stopped doing daily sports coverage. Rawlings will supplement the Zone talent.

Andrew Saltzman, a general manager at 790/The Zone, raved about the arrangement: “It’s been awesome. It’s been a huge win for us. The CBS Atlanta folks have been tremendous partners. It exceeded our expectations.”

The station also noted in a separate press release that its “Better Mornings” program has shown steady growth the past year – though it doesn’t mention that it’s still far behind the other three rivals. It has also seen strong growth in its 4 and 5 p.m. newscasts year over year.

What’s up with Gaines? He identifies himself as a “voice-over talent” in the greater Los Angeles area, according to his LinkedIn page.

Read more at the Atlanta Journal Constitution where this story was originally published.