After almost 30 years on Austin TV, KTBC sports director Dave Cody has pretty much seen it all: University of Texas national championships, coaches hired and fired, and high school athletes making it to the big leagues.
But all good things must come to an end. Cody, by far the city’s best-known sportscaster, is set to retire next month. His final day on the station’s 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. newscasts, according to Fox 7, will be June 5.
While Cody, 56, loves his job, he says he’s ready for a change of pace. He plans to stay in Austin, but his exit from the news business will also enable him to spend more time with his elderly parents, who live in Alabama.
“Twenty-eight years is a long time at anything,” he told me during a visit to the Fox 7 studios last week. “I’ve spent half my life in this building. My coworkers, our viewers … they’ve become part of my family.”
Although the local TV scene has changed dramatically since he arrived in Austin — KTBC, for example, was still the city’s CBS affiliate when Cody delivered his first sportscast — the veteran broadcaster says that, from the start, his mission has been to spotlight local athletes. Scores and highlights from out-of-town teams, he says, are available countless other places.
“I’m a storyteller,” he said. “I just like good stories.”
Over the years, plenty of larger markets, including Los Angeles, have come knocking, but Cody says he’s convinced that Austin is where he’s meant to be. He admits walking away from his dream job is incredibly difficult, but he has no doubts whatsoever that he’s made the right decision.
“Everyone tells me the next 28 years are going to be great — and they’re right,” he said. “This is a new chapter for me.”
That new chapter includes no longer working 12-hour days — noon to midnight most weekdays — as well as weekends and holidays.
“What’s a show like at the Paramount? What’s it like to check out a concert at one of the downtown clubs? I’m looking forward to finding out.”
Pam Vaught, news director at Fox 7, says Cody’s knowledge of the local sports scene has been invaluable. He’ll be hard to replace, she admits.
“I’m going to miss him terribly,” she said. “He knows this city backwards and forwards.”
As Cody’s final day approaches, Fox 7 has been airing classic clips from his long career — including some bloopers. Cody has a great sense of humor, Vaught says, and he’s perfectly OK with viewers laughing at his gaffes.
“People just love him,” she said. “He takes his job seriously, but not himself.”
Austin gets nod in ‘Office’ finale
Austin … or Scranton?
It’s a no-brainer, right?
Certainly seems that way. On the series finale of “The Office,” Jim and Pam had a choice to make and, yeah, it was a pretty easy one. With little hesitation, they opted to relocate to picture-perfect Austin, where Jim will work with Athlead, a sports marketing agency.
Darryl, their former co-worker, was already working for Athlead and living in our fair city — and he had plenty of great things to say.
“The city is amazing,” he said during the start of the 75-minute episode. “It’s hot, the music is awesome … and the tacos are for real.”
After wading through an insane amount of commercials, we learned that Jim and Pam had decided they, too, are bound for Texas. The Austin mention was apparently inspired by South by Southwest’s Rebecca Feferman, who at one time served as John Krasinski’s (Jim’s) publicist.
“Plus, Jim & Pam are going to LOVE Austin. - we wrote it as Austin for YOU buddy! That was my little shout out to you!!!,” Krasinski tweeted to Feferman.
Jim and Pam tried — unsuccessfully — to convince head honcho Dwight to come visit them in oh-so-fabulous Austin.
“For what?” nerdy Dwight asked. “The art? The music? The incredible nightlife? No, thank you.”
Someone who doesn’t love Austin? Guess there really is a first for everything …
Read my blog at austin360.com/tvblog or follow @gdinges on Twitter to get the latest updates on local radio and TV stations.