Veteran Sacramento TV newsman Walt Gray is heading back to his radio roots.
Gray, who has reported on and anchored news and sports coverage at Sacramento television station Channel 3 (KCRA) for nearly a quarter century, confirmed Monday that he will leave next month to take a job with Sacramento radio station 96.9 FM (KSEG) otherwise known as The Eagle, "Sacramento's classic rock" station.
His last day with Channel 3 will be Oct. 19. On Oct. 22, he will begin hosting a new morning program at KSEG.
Curtiss Johnson, KSEG station manager and program director, said the new show will be called "The Walt Gray Show," with Kat Maudru, a longtime KSEG morning show host who has been with The Eagle since it launched in 1990.
The new show will air weekdays from 5:30 to 10 a.m.
Lori Waldon, KCRA news director, broke the news to the Channel 3 staff "with mixed emotions." Her e-mail announcement said: "Walt has been a tremendous asset to KCRA 3. Now, Walt is taking on a new and exciting challenge in his career. Walt has accepted a new position at Entercom Radio, "The Eagle" 96.9. The station is creating a morning team and they tapped Walt to do it knowing he'd be the perfect fit."
Waldon said it was "a great opportunity for Walt. As he describes it, he's being paid to have fun on the radio. But this new position also allows him to spend his afternoons with his kids at school and coaching their teams."
Gray is married to Monica Woods, chief meteorologist at ABC TV affiliate Channel 10 (KXTV) in Sacramento. They have three children, ages 5, 7 and 10.
KSEG's Johnson called Gray "a smart guy with an opinion and a quick sense of humor."
Johnson said the new radio show is designed "to get our mornings off to a fun start, to keep you up to date on what's going on in Northern California and the rest of the world, in an entertaining way, and play the classic rock for which The Eagle is known."
Gray has previously worked with KSEG. He was part of The Eagle morning radio team from 1991-96 as a host of the "Morning Sports Page."
That show was replaced in 1996 by the "Mark & Brian Show," a talk format hosted by Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps. The syndicated show aired weekday mornings from KLOS-FM in Los Angeles.
In June, Thompson announced that he was retiring and moving to Charlotte, N.C. On Aug. 17, during Thompson's farewell show, Phelps announced that he was moving on to other opportunities.
That opened the door for development of a local radio show involving Gray. Gray said Monday that he was "very happy and looking forward" to working again in radio.
Fresh out of the University of Rhode Island with a journalism degree, Gray's first broadcasting job was in radio at WERI-AM/FM in Westerly, R.I. The next 32 years were in television, with stops in Georgia and Florida.
Gray came to Sacramento in 1988, when KCRA appointed him sports director, replacing Bob Hogue. He moved to Sacramento from WCIX, Channel 6, an independent station in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale market in Florida.
At KCRA, Gray moved to the news side in 1993, starting a nearly 20-year run where he was equally comfortable behind the anchor desk or doing live, on-the-street reporting.
He currently anchors KCRA's noon newscast and is part of the "breaking news crew" for the 5 and 6 p.m. shows.
Gray recently completed his 10th annual Walt Gray Ride, where thousands of motorcyclists take to the road for children's charities. Over a decade, the rides have raised $500,000.
Waldon noted Gray's community involvement and called him "a great newsroom citizen and an all-around class act. We will miss him."