Veteran Chicago sportscaster Peggy Kusinski will be shifting gears after 16 years at WMAQ-Channel 5, the NBC-owned station announced Monday.
Starting next month, Kusinski will give up the daily sports reporting beat to work on investigative and in-depth sports stories for NBC 5’s newscasts and “Sports Sunday.”
“Peggy has developed many sources and story ideas during her years on the daily beat,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said in an email to staff. “She’s ready to put them to good use.”
Taking over for Kusinski on daily reporting, including Chicago Bears football coverage, will be Mike Berman, who signed on last week as sports reporter and fill-in anchor. Berman, a Chicago native who grew up in Northbrook, most recently worked at WTTV, the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis.
“I’ve covered the Bears for 24 years and one Super Bowl appearance, from Ditka to Wannstedt, Lovie to Trestman, and now John Fox,” Kusinski said in response to a request for comment Monday. “I’ve been blessed to cover three Bulls NBA Championships, three Blackhawks Stanley Cups, one White Sox World Series and will be there for NBC 5 as the Cubs march through the postseason this year. Throw in three Olympics I’ve covered elsewhere and I’ve pretty much done everything in sports — except investigative!
“NBC 5 is giving me the opportunity to step back from the daily grind, or as I say, ‘jump off the wheel,’ and focus instead on fewer stories with a bigger impact.”
Kusinski, a native of Chicago’s Northwest Side and graduate of Resurrection High School and Southern Illinois University, joined NBC 5 as a sports reporter and anchor in 2000 after working as a sports talk show host at ESPN Radio 1000 and the former WMAQ AM 670. She began in Chicago as a sports anchor for CLTV.
“I’ll be the ‘veteran voice’ during the Cubs postseason run and other big sports news while digging up investigative sports stories as well,” she added. “I’m excited about turning the page and starting a new chapter, and grateful NBC 5 has the vision to allow me to do so.”
Her plans for the future? “To sit on the couch in my pajamas on Sundays and watch the Bears from home!”
The realignment of NBC 5’s sports team comes amid uncertainty over the status of sports anchor Mike Adamle, who’s been out since mid-March for health reasons. Back in the mix after six weeks away covering the Summer Olympics in Rio is sports anchor Siafa Lewis.
Here is the text of Whittaker’s email to staff:
I want to let you know about a new role for Peggy Kusinski in our sports department.
For the past 16 years, Peggy has covered the highs and lows of Chicago’s sports teams for NBC 5. She’s decided to take a break from the daily reporting beat. But I’m pleased to tell you that Peggy will continue working with NBC 5, developing investigative and in-depth sports stories for our newscasts and Sports Sunday. And she’ll also still be available to help us on big story coverage (World Series?).
Peggy has developed many sources and story ideas during her years on the daily beat. She’s ready to put them to good use. She’ll begin her new assignment in early September. Mike Berman will take over the daily sports reporting beat, including our Bears coverage.
Congratulations to Peggy and Mike on their new roles. Please see me if you have any questions.
Station Manager & Vice President of News