WNBC’s Scott Stanford Makes News Anchoring Debut

Sportscasters have occasionally been seen handling news anchoring. In the last several years, you could see former WNBC sports anchor Len Berman taking part in the news portion of Live at Five. His former colleague Otis Livingston spent weekend mornings as a stopgap anchor with Cindy Hsu on WCBS.

Now, the latest on-air sports personality has made the leap to the news side. WNBC’s Scott Stanford anchored News 4 New York at 7 on WNBC’s digital channel Cozi TV (formerly New York Nonstop).

Hard to recall a sportscaster anchoring on his own. Stanford, though, broke that barrier. He was in charge of the one-hour broadcast Friday night. He’ll get another shot this Friday.

For those expecting the high-octane Stanford to crash and burn in the new role, they were sadly disappointed. The worry is that a sports guy will just “have fun” with news. But this was clearly no hobby. Stanford was as serious about it as the stories he reported.

Despite not having a TV news background, Stanford was able to transfer his broadcasting skills with little issue. Stanford has been all about sports, first as a former afternoon radio standout on WCBS 880 via Shadow Traffic. He moved to TV at Channel 9/Channel 5 before heading to Channel 4, picking up four New York Emmy Awards along the way.

In the 60-minute newscast, Stanford did not cover any sports. But he did have two segments on Congress’ spending cuts sequester. Not only did he show his on-camera confidence, Stanford showed a command of the story. Stanford did short “q and a” with Washington correspondent Steve Handelsman. Later, he conducted a live in-studio interview with the assistant managing editor from Crains New York.

Stanford, Bruce Beck’s back-up, just has to make sure to rein in his trademark flowing energy, so effectively used in sports. In his sports reports, he typically works in song lyrics to the point of near comedy. He took that same energy to the World Wrestling Entertainment in 2009.

That infectious personality, at times, caused his seques or transitions to miss the mark.

But those would appear to be easy fixes. It’s clear that WNBC management made a smart move in giving the talented Stanford a chance to spread his wings in a new setting.