CBS 19's Sullivan going back home to Arkansas

 

An Arkansas native, Eric Sullivan readily admits that he did not care too much for the state of Texas prior to coming here.

"I grew up loving the Dallas Cowboys, but for 29 years of my life I hated everything about Texas, especially as far as college football," Sullivan said. "It was (ingrained in us there). You are not allowed to like (Texas as an Arkansas fan)."

Sullivan completed his 10th year as sports director for CBS 19 in Tyler. It will be his last as he is returning home as host of a new sports talk radio show on 103.7 FM "The Buzz" in Little Rock, Arkansas. The new show debuts on Monday.

"I always (weigh each opportunity) to see if my heart is in it and, if it is, what does your gut tell you?" Sullivan said. "My gut told me this is a great opportunity."

Sullivan cut his teeth, so to speak, in the radio industry recently when he added a daily one-hour sports talk show on ESPN 92.1 FM-Tyler to his television responsibilities.

"I never thought radio would be my route, but the station I am going to is a big-time deal statewide and flagship station," Sullivan said. "I listened to them as a kid. They wanted me to be there and that always means something when they want you.

"It felt like the right thing to do and my mom is close and my brother; I have a nephew who is a senior in high school who I am now going to get to watch play and be the crazy uncle in the stands."

Sullivan was sports anchor for KFSM-TM in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for three years prior to stepping over the Lone Star state line in October of 2006 to join CBS 19.

It was the middle of high school football season in East Texas and Sullivan got a crash course in just how important Friday nights are to people in this area - and not just the big cities on the state map.

"I knew where Tyler, Nacogdoches, Lufkin and Longview were, but I had never been to any of them in my life," Sullivan said. "I wish I would've known where Whitehouse, Bullard and Lindale were because I just didn't know (when I started).

"But I quickly found out that (my coverage area) was a very big chunk of this state (and not just the big schools) and was like, ‘Wow.' I was pretty overwhelmed to be honest."

After a few mispronunciations of names on air in the early weeks, Sullivan began to find his footing.

"I vaguely talked to the former sports director Brian (Joyce) before arriving, so I felt like a freshman in college with a lot of books; figuring out where I am at, but it came to me quick because it's a great sports area," Sullivan said.

One venture Sullivan was a driving force on was the creation of ETFinalScore.com with the Tyler Morning Telegraph. As part of a joint venture in the combining of Tyler Paper and CBS 19 resources for all areas, the two sports departments created a new website in conjunction with a weekly high school football scoreboard show.

Sullivan anchored the show on Friday nights during the fall and provided regular video content to the new site throughout the year.

"One of my favorite accomplishments is the creation of ETFinalscore.com website five years ago with the Tyler Paper," Sullivan said. "It was the first of its kind and was so needed in East Texas.

"This is a big-time sports area and the fans and viewers are always so impressed with the ease of accessing videos, scores and articles on their kids and the athletes they knew."

The area and station also gave him opportunities to cover pro football, basketball and baseball, along with college sports.

"Since I've been here I have been to a Super Bowl, a Final Four, a NBA All-Star Weekend, a World Series game with the Texas Rangers and two years ago I was at the first ever College Football Playoff championship," Sullivan said.

"So, I got to do it all - except for one thing. The Dallas Cowboys were not in that Super Bowl I got to cover. Watch them probably go to the Super Bowl this year because I am leaving. It just makes perfect sense. And the Rangers will win the World Series."

Sullivan is currently anchoring his final broadcasts for CBS 19 as a new job awaits.

But the lifelong Razorbacks fan admits he now has a special place in his heart for a once-hated state.

"You know what, after 10 years I can say everyone here is pretty cool," Sullivan said. "We all got along pretty good. It's been fun; it's been a heck of a ride."

 
 

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