WMAQ-Channel 5 announced a couple of high-profile changes to its sports department Tuesday, prompted by the departure of lead sports anchor Siafa Lewis after seven years at the NBC-owned station.
Lewis, who expanded his duties to include anchoring weekend morning news at NBC 5, is leaving to become a Monday-through-Friday news anchor at KYW, the CBS-owned station in Philadelphia, where he grew up. His last day here will be November 4.
“We thank Siafa for his years of work here in Chicago and send him back to his hometown with our best wishes for his future success,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, told staffers in an email.
Joining NBC 5 as a part-time sports reporter and anchor is Leila Rahimi, who continues to co-host middays with Dan Bernstein on Audacy sports/talk WSCR 670-AM. Before landing at The Score in January, Rahimi spent five years as anchor, host and reporter for NBC Sports Chicago.
Born and raised in Denton, Texas, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism.
For the immediate future, according to Whittaker, Rahimi will divide sports anchoring duties with Jeff Blanzy and Mike Berman.
Lewis joined NBC 5 as a per diem sports reporter in 2014 after working as a sports anchor and reporter at WNBC in New York. He succeeded Mike Adamle as lead sports anchor in 2017.
Born in West Germany to Liberian parents who were graduate students, Lewis moved with his family to New Jersey when he was 7. After graduating from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., with a degree in radio, TV and film, he won a contest to report traffic on weekends for WCAU in Philadelphia in 2004.
Here is the text of Whittaker’s email:
I wanted to let you know that Siafa Lewis will be leaving NBC 5 News. He has accepted a position as a weekday news anchor for a TV station in Philadelphia. For Siafa, it’s a return to his home town where all of his family still lives, and especially his mom. Siafa first joined us in 2014 as a per diem sports reporter and quickly moved up the ranks to become our lead sports anchor. Most recently, he also co-anchored our Sunday morning newscasts and co-anchored our coverage of the Chicago Marathon. We thank Siafa for his years of work here in Chicago, and send him back to his home town with our best wishes for his future success. His last day here will be Thursday November 4th.
I am pleased to announce that Leila Rahimi will be joining our sports team as a reporter and anchor on a part-time basis. Many of you may recognize Leila from her nearly 5 years of work with NBC Sports Chicago. Most recently, Leila has been co-hosting the “Bernstein and Rahimi Show” on The Score 670 AM. She’s also worked as a sideline reporter for several Fox Sports Net outlets in other markets. Leila is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism.
For the immediate future, Jeff Blanzy, Mike Berman and Leila will split the sports anchoring duties on our afternoon and evening newscasts following Siafa’s departure. The exact rotation will be determined shortly.
Congratulations to Siafa on his return home. And please welcome Leila to NBC 5.