It's been a tough year for veteran sportscaster Frank Herzog.
Five months after WJFK radio announced it was pulling the longtime play-by-play voice of the Washington Redskins from the broadcast team, WUSA (Channel 9) has informed him that he's out of a job as the station's main sports anchor when his contract expires at the end of November, according to several sources.
Herzog, who joined the station 35 years ago and became its top sports anchor in March 2003, declined to discuss the decision yesterday when reached by telephone. WUSA General Manager Darryll Green did not return a phone call left at his office.
Herzog's departure from WUSA, first reported by the Washington Times yesterday, marks the end of a relationship that began in 1969 when he started there as a news reporter. In 1977, Herzog was named weekend sports anchor before leaving in 1983 to become sports director at rival WJLA. He was unceremoniously let go at WJLA nine years later, and returned to WUSA as a sports reporter in 1992.
When he was named WUSA's chief sports anchor last year he told The Washington Post, "People in the newsroom for years have asked me why I wasn't doing this."
Herzog's ouster marks the second major move this year by WUSA management to overhaul its news team as it struggles with declining ratings. Gurvir Dhindsa anchored her final newscast for WUSA July 9 after four years with the station. She will be replaced by former WTTG anchor Tracey Neale, who will anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts beginning in mid-August. Longtime anchor Gordon Peterson's contract comes up at the end of the year, but he would not comment yesterday on his future at the station.
WUSA's sports department has lacked stability since the death of the beloved Glenn Brenner in 1992. Since then, the station has gone through five main sports anchors -- Warner Wolf (who recently lost a top anchoring job in New York), Ken Broo, Jess Atkinson, Steve Davis and Herzog.
In February WJFK announced, to the dismay of many fans, that it was breaking up the broadcast team of Herzog, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff, who have called Redskins games since 1981. Herzog was replaced by Larry Michael.
Herzog will handle the play-by-play for a preseason telecast when the Redskins face Miami on Aug. 21. The game will be broadcast by WUSA but is being produced by Comcast SportsNet.