After a brief, ill-fated turn on the weekday morning radio airwaves, veteran Sacramento newsman Walt Gray is headed back to television.
Gray, the longtime Channel 3 (KCRA) reporter/anchor whose jump last fall to a Sacramento morning radio show was cut short by a round of layoffs at the radio station in July, is returning to TV news at Sacramento's Channel 10 (KXTV).
Gray will anchor News10's Saturday and Sunday 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. newscasts and handle multiple journalistic chores that include breaking news, investigative pieces and features. He will take over his new duties Sept. 6.
"News10 is the station on the rise," Gray said. "I'm a critical viewer of local news, and Channel 10 has consistently impressed me with its news gathering and unique and effective style. I want to be a part of that."
Gray made the announcement Sunday morning before the 11th annual Walt Gray Ride, a motorcycle rally that benefits Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada.
This year's ride wound its way from California State University, Sacramento, to Red Hawk Casino in Placerville, where festivities included a lunch, a raffle and a concert.
Gray stunned many in the local media industry last September when he announced that he was leaving KCRA where he had reported on and anchored news and sports coverage for nearly a quarter-century to take a job with Sacramento radio station 96.9 FM (KSEG), otherwise known as The Eagle, "Sacramento's classic rock" station.
On Oct. 22 last year, he began hosting a new morning weekday program, joined by Kat Maudru, a longtime KSEG morning show host.
On July 24, Gray said he was laid off from 96.9, one of several job cuts made by the station. Gray said the station and its parent, Entercom Communications Corp., were aiming to cut costs.
At the time, Gray said: "I would love to remain in broadcasting, certainly. Television has always been a favorite."
After leaving KSEG, Gray said he was approached by other local stations, but he said Channel 10, the local ABC TV affiliate, was "the best fit."
Gray is married to Monica Woods, chief meteorologist at KXTV and an employee there since 2001.
KXTV has been making progress of late in some Sacramento TV news time slots, most of which are dominated by KCRA. In the most recent Nielsen Co. figures for July, KXTV ranked second among local TV stations in weekday news slots that included 6 a.m., 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Jerome Parra, News10's news director, believes the addition of Gray will add to KXTV's momentum.
"Walt is one of Sacramento's best known and most respected news anchors," Parra said. "He's done it all. He is a trusted voice and an accomplished storyteller. He adds even greater depth to News10's accomplished team of anchors and reporters."
When he was 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. He spent the next 32 years 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.
Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.