Debuting on Feb. 10 and airing at 11 a.m. on Sundays on KGO-TV (the San Francisco area's ABC affiliate that reaches as far as Salinas and Monterey and is included on many cable systems throughout Northern California), Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area will feature area Athletes of the Week, scholar athlete and team interviews, a weekly Top Team Award, showcase the Monster Game of the Week, offer medical advice from sports doctor Arthur Ting and provide highlights of games from around the San Francisco Bay.
Taking over a television division that earned three consecutive Emmy Awards in Southern California for "Inside Cal-Hi Sports," broadcast regionally on Fox Sports Net, Braunstein said that "Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area" will run until June 16, before beginning production again the first week in September.
Currently residing in San Jose, Braunstein got his first taste of high school sports after earning a bachelor of arts degree from San Jose State and graduating with a master's degree in journalism at the University of Missouri in 1993. He began his career 19 years ago covering Friday night games in Missouri with a 14-person staff at KOMU-TV. Braunstein then went on to KGNS-TV in Laredo, Texas where high school sports, especially football, commanded center stage. While working at KICU-TV in San Jose, Braunstein created "High School Sports Focus," which became the model for high school sports highlights shows across America. He has won a variety of awards including an Emmy for Best Sports Feature in 1992 for "Charlie Lives," about legendary coach Charlie Wedemeyer who continues his battle with Lou Gehrig's disease.
Braunstein has also been nominated six other times for Emmys and earned eight Associated Press awards and six Radio and Television News Director's Association (RTNDA) awards for excellence in broadcasting.
"After so many years in the broadcasting industry, I demand the best from myself and those around me so it was exciting for me to be able to work with Student Sports, which has been establishing itself has the national leader in high school sports in a variety of mediums," Braunstein said. "I think what has always drawn me to high school sports is the fascinating stories behind each of the student-athletes. I'm a storyteller and Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area is going to draw a lot of viewers to the show because we'll be able to use the camera to paint portraits of these often-inspirational boys and girls."
Student Sports President Andy Bark said Braunstein is a tremendously exciting addition to the company, which also produces Student Sports Magazine, the nation's only high school sports monthly for more than 13 years; creates and executes the Nike Football Training Camps at sites throughout the country; and produces content on 11 different Web sites including StudentSports.com, CaHiSports.com, TheInsiders.com Network, CNN/Si.com and TheSportingNews.com among many other corporate ventures.
"Being able to add someone like a Robert Braunstein to the Student Sports team is a huge victory, not just for Student Sports, but for fans of high school sports in general," Bark said. "Because Robert is so versatile, it's exciting to think that we'll be able to showcase his talents in a number of areas. But as Director of Television, his main focus will be expanding upon the areas that Student Sports already excels at and determining additional opportunities in broadcasting where we can deliver the same compelling content that Student Sports Magazine has been delivering for more than 10 years."
A longtime Northern California resident, Student Sports Magazine Executive Editor Mark Tennis said that it was especially exciting for him to have the Cal-Hi Sports show led by such a noted journalist. Tennis, along with his uncle, Nelson, started the Cal-Hi Sports newsletter 23 years ago and the publication is still being delivered weekly to subscribers. Mark and Nelson Tennis also created the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book, the first comprehensive California state record book used by print and broadcast media across the state. The pair were also instrumental in the creation of the Student Sports National High School Football Record Book, the first stand-alone high school football national record book spanning more than 120 years of statistics.
Tennis said one of the interesting features the editorial group has planned for the show is a completely updated Northern California Top 20 team ranking that will include results from the night before. These will be the first updated rankings in the state for each week. The producers of Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area will be ranking boys and girls basketball until April and will then switch to baseball and softball in the spring.
"It certainly never entered into the thoughts of myself or my uncle, Nelson Tennis, when we started Cal-Hi Sports in 1979, that someday there would be not one but now two TV shows with our rankings and content being highlighted," Tennis said. "I have watched Robert's work since he started featuring high school sports and I have always thought he was one of the best in the entire country at doing it. Being able to work together to share our passion for high school sports with the Bay Area at large is extremely exciting and I think that it won't be long before the show develops a strong and loyal following."