Sports anchor David Wilkinson leaves 11 Alive after two years

David Wilkinson

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Monday, August 29, 2016

Sports anchor David Wilkinson has left NBC affiliate 11 Alive after two years.

He said in an interview he left voluntarily after his contract was up August 6.

He was a weekend sports anchor and reporter, who also did some work on weeknights.

Wilkinson is now working at Kennesaw-based the Impact Partnership as a TV producer. The marketing production company provides TV and radio services mostly for financial, retirement and real estate business professionals who create pay-for-play radio and TV shows.

The Smyrna resident said he was not sure if he was going to renew his contract with 11 Alive (WXIA-TV) when he met someone from Impact Partnership at church and found out they were hiring. He and his wife were about to have their third child and he wanted a job with more consistent hours. So he decided to take the leap.

“It was a tough decision,” he said.

But his new job, he said, has been great so far, enabling him to use his TV skills in a different arena: “I like the company. I like the culture. I like the hours. I’m blessed this door opened.”

11 Alive is seeking a replacement for Wilkinson. The timing of his departure is tough because the football season has just begun.

Impact Partnership is the same place where Randy Cook and Spiff Carner (formerly Fox 97.1’s Randy & Spiff morning team) preside. 

Several other professionals from Atlanta radio work there as well including Jessica Forkel (former B98.5 morning show producer), Kevin Steele (Kicks 101.5, NewsRadio 106.7), Mark Richards (Cox and Cumulus in management), Michelle Wright (NewsRadio 106.7), Mike Macho (Kicks 101.5), Kristen Charles (Kicks) and Jennifer Perry (NewsRadio 106.7).

Wilkinson, a 2002 Woodward Academy and 2006 Samford University graduate, was in TV news for about a decade, working in Columbus, Ohio; Waco, Texas; and Montgomery, Alabama before coming to 11 Alive.

“I grew up watching Fred Kalil on Friday nights,” said Wilkinson, referencing the long-time 11 Alive sports anchor who left last year to go to CBS46 after 22 years. “My parents always watched 11 Alive. It was really cool to be at the station.”

11 Alive in a span of 18 months from 2013 to 2015 lost their three veteran sports anchors – Kalil, Sam Crenshaw and Randy Waters. They still have Jeff Hullinger, who has been primarily news anchoring but has decades of knowledge in the sports field and does sports anchoring as well on weeknights. They also recently hired Decatur native Kim Smith as a sports reporter.

Waters retired after 29 years at the station. Crenshaw, who worked at 11 Alive for 16 years, has been doing freelance TV work (including Fox 5) and hosts a morning weekend radio show on 92.9/The Game.

If Wilkinson does return to local TV, the standard non-compete is six months so he wouldn’t be able to do so until February 6, 2017.

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