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So long (?) to Stan?

July 14, 2009 - John Mehno

Stan Savran's Monday night farewell to FSN Pittsburgh's "Sportsbeat:" show had a weird vibe.

If you didn't know, the nightly call-in show has been canceled after 18 years, replaced by nothing. They're cutting costs at FSN, and wiping out an hour of live TV saves some dollars. So in typical TV fashion, they scheduled a two-hour goodbye that stretched into prime time, then was immediately repeated. They built their evening around a show they can't wait to kill.

There was a steady stream of in-studio guests and phone calls from those who couldn't make it there. There were clips from the archives, and a virtual studio tour to show the behind-the-scenes people, some of whom are losing their jobs. Sportsbeat is done, but Savran isn't. The 62-year-old host settled on a revised deal that will have him hosting shows that wrap around Pirates and Penguins broadcasts, as well as handling the weekly Mike Tomlin press conference and a separate show with the Steelers coach. In other words, Savran will still have a year-round presence on FSN. He will also continue his daily two-hour radio show with Guy Junker on the local ESPN station, the former WTAE-AM. Audio of that show is available at the station's website.

So we had a farewell for a guy who really isn't going anywhere. That didn't seem to make it much easier on Savran. He got choked up at the end, admitted that he taped his last commentary to make sure he would keep his emotions in check, then signed off with his voice cracking and his head bowed.

No doubt Savran will miss his co-workers, some of whom won't be working there now that Sportsbeat is done. But he still has broadcast outlets for his opinion and being part of the game broadcasts will keep him one of the most visible broadcast sports personalities in town. Junker has a blog at the radio station website; perhaps Savran could start one, too, if he feels the need to express more opinions. His situation isn't what it used to be, but it's not all bad, either.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly presented Savran with a customized Pirates jersey. Savran will be on the air again Friday night, hosting the pre-game show as the Pirates return from the All-Star break.

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