WPXI-TV has not renewed the contract of sports reporter Rich Walsh, who will be leaving the station at the end of this month. Mr. Walsh has been with WPXI since 2005, although previously he had worked as a producer and intern there. Before that, he was a sports anchor at WTRF in Wheeling, W.Va., and was a producer for Fox Sports Network Pittsburgh.
"I was told my position was eliminated, that it was a budget issue," Mr. Walsh said. "I had a good time and there were a lot of good people I worked with. I don't have anything bad to say about the the station."
"While we don't have any plans to announce a replacement, our commitment to covering Pittsburgh sports won't diminish," said Ray Carter, WPXI vice-president and general manager. "In this world of ever-expanding technology and delivery platforms, broadcasters have to sometimes hit the 'pause' button and re-evaluate where they have their people and resources.
"That's in essence what we are doing. Rich is a terrific talent and has been a valuable team member. We're going to miss him."
"I felt like I was blindsided by it, a little, but it is the nature of the business," said Mr. Walsh, 36, a Penn Hills native and University of Pittsburgh alum. "I'm going to pursue anything that's available come January. I've already had interviews out of state, but I don't necessarily want to leave Pittsburgh." He added that his wife, Michele, is from Lower Burrell.
This April, they are expecting their first child, a girl.
"We are really excited. It's a new chapter in my life, but I also have to figure out what to do next, which is kind of scary."
Mr. Walsh's last day on air will be Dec. 30, when he anchors the 6, 10 and 11 p.m. sports reports. Although he will no longer be on WPXI, Mr. Walsh will continue to work for Root Sports, conducting intermission and scoreboard segments during Pittsburgh Penguins games. He said his contract contains a non-compete clause, but he has been assured verbally that in this case it will be waived.
He made news at his July 2011 wedding when he and his bride emerged from Oakland's St. Paul Cathedral. They were going to pose for photographs on the steps of the nearby Mellon Institute while the feature film, "The Dark Knight Rises," was shooting nearby. The couple were invited to pose with one of the many Batmobiles on set, and a video clip was posted on news gossip site www.TMZ.com.
First Published December 17, 2013 6:52 PM