After 14 years as the Indianapolis Star’s sports columnist and most recognized personality, Bob Kravitz resigned Thursday shortly after 3:30 p.m. to take a job with WTHR-TV Channel 13.
Even Kravitz seemed a bit stunned by the evolution of his career, describing himself—with a chuckle—as “dazed and confused,” when reached by IBJ.
“This was completely out of the blue,” he said about an hour after he turned in his resignation with the Star. WTHR General Manager Larry Delia confirmed the hire to IBJ.
“Bob’s reputation and unique insight into Indiana sports at all levels will be a vital addition to our sports department, both online and on-air. We're very pleased he's making the move,” Delia said.
Kravitz's resignation comes just days after Star management announced a pending 15-percent cutback in newsroom personnel, but Kravitz’s job there seemed secure, said a source within the newsroom.
“I’m not running away from newspapers and I’m certainly not running away from the Star,” said Kravitz, 54. “I’m running toward a new opportunity. I just thought it was a good time in my career to try something new and different and join a great company.”
Ronnie Ramos, the Star's managing editor of digital and sports, said in a statement that the newspaper will launch a national search for a new sports columnist.
"We are disappointed to see Bob leave, but realize the Star's stature as the top media outlet and strong commitment to grow and promote our talented staff will prompt competitors to come after some of our people," he said.
At WTHR, Kravitz said he will be writing four or five pieces—either in the form of a column or blog post—each week for the station’s website. What’s less clear is what his on-air role will be at central Indiana’s top-rated news station.
“I’m not a TV guy. I don’t have a six-pack or [WTHR sports anchor] Dave Calabro’s hair,” Kravitz said. “I don’t think they want me to be on the air too often. I will offer commentary from time to time. The whole TV part of it is up in the air. [WTHR management] is still figuring that out.”
WTHR approached him earlier this month about joining the station, Kravitz said, and when the job offer was formalized, he said he agonized over the decision.
“I certainly wasn’t looking at Monster.com,” Kravitz said. “This decision is absolutely zero reflection on the Star.”
He added that he was saddened Thursday afternoon by the realization that he had written his last column for the paper. Kravitz could start for WTHR as early as Saturday, he said.
“I agonized over this decision for days and days,” he said. “I grew up in newspapers. I bleed ink. It’s the only thing I’ve ever known. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that in the end I didn’t feel I could turn down.”
Kravitz is a graduate of Indiana University, and worked at Sports Illustrated, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Denver's Rocky Mountain News before joining the Star in 2000. He's been honored with numerous Associated Press Sports Editors national top 10 columnist awards.
In addition to writing for WTHR.com, Kravitz will provide commentary on professional, college and high school sports on newscasts. He also will be part of other station sports programming, including the recently announced “Pat McAfee Show,” as well as additional projects in the works.