(KTXL) — After nearly four decades at FOX40, Sports Director Jim Crandell is retiring. He will sign off Wednesday night on FOX40 News at 10.
Jim came to KTXL as a sports anchor in late 1984 after arriving in California from Wisconsin.
“I applied for the job and I didn’t get it,” Jim said. “And then about a year later, the news director, who was Don Ross at that point, called me and said, ‘Hey, listen, the guy we hired is not working out and we would really like you to come out.'”
That year was the Kings’ last in Kansas City and Jim was there for the excitement of a new team, and later, the unveiling of Arco Arena.
“Covering them in the playoffs back when they were really good was super fun,” Jim recalled. “They were the best team in the league, you’ll never convince me that they weren’t the best team in the league.”
In 1988, Jim was at Dodger Stadium for the World Series and the famous Game 1 home run by Kirk Gibson.
“I was at Dodger Stadium in that first game when Dennis Eckersley, who hadn’t given up anything all year, the guy was un-hittable as the A’s closer out of the bullpen. Eckersley came in to pitch the ninth inning and all the reporters said, ‘OK, that’s the game. Let’s go down to the A’s Clubhouse and get ready to talk to them about winning,'” he said. “And we’re standing there watching the end of the game, I swear, on a little TV that was hung way up high … and Kirk Gibson hit that home run and you could just hear the stadium erupt. And all of us, all the reporters, we just looked at each other like are you kidding?”
Jim later became the main anchor at FOX40 but returned to sports in the 1990s.
Much of what Jim says on-air comes from his years of experience in front of a camera. He is known for his incredible ability to ad-lib sports and, of course, his sense of humor — especially during his back-and-forth with FOX40 Chief Meteorologist Kristina Werner.
“We have a lot of the same interests. I mean, I’m sort of interested in weather, but she’s super interested in sports,” Jim said of Kristina, who started at FOX40 in 2000.
“I’ve gotten along with her, probably, as well as I have with anyone I’ve ever worked with here.”
“I think we throw around the words ‘GOAT’ and ‘legend’ too often nowadays, but when it comes to Jim, it’s more than fitting. He is one of the most gifted broadcasters I’ve ever worked with, but he is also just one of the best humans I know. I’m honored to have shared the news set with him,” Kristina said.
“Crandell was the main reason FOX40 hired me 18 years ago. Working side-by-side all those years, I really leaned on his experience. He taught me a lot, but probably, the best thing he taught me was to not over-complicate things. From gathering interviews and video out in the field, to producing a sports segment, ‘You know the story,’ he’d always tell me. ‘Just tell it to the viewers and keep it simple,'” said FOX40 News sports anchor Mark Demsky.
“Crandell is the quiet newsroom force you always hope to have the opportunity to work with. You need professional advice — ask Jim. You need personal advice — ask Jim. He operates every day with the kind of calm confidence, both on-air and off-air, that we all strive for and it comes natural to him. This team and this TV station have been so lucky to have him for more than three decades. While I’m so pleased to see Crandell stepping into retirement after such a great broadcasting career, I can’t help but mourn the loss of his presence in this building and interacting daily in the studio, on live TV where he made a challenging job seem effortless,” said FOX40 News anchor Eric Harryman.
“It’s been a true honor working alongside Jim for the past five plus years at FOX40. Jim is a legend and that’s not hyperbole. He’s a true statesman in broadcasting. He’s the type of broadcaster that inspires young journalists to pursue a career in TV news. He cares about every aspect of our product, not just his sports segment each night. I’ve never heard Jim raise his voice, but when he speaks, everyone listens. Jim is the heart of our team and there’s a huge hole in that heart right now. Anyone who’s been lucky enough to work with Jim is better because of it,” said FOX40 News Anchor Nikki Laurenzo.