Local TV continues to see major changes, and now one of the top sports reporters in the Rhode Island market is stepping away from the business.
Joe Kayata from Channel 10 is moving on to a new job with one of Rhode Island’s top branding and communications firms. I asked him to reflect on his career and tell us about his new gig.
Q: You’ve been in the TV news business for 22 years. Why is now the time to leave?
Kayata: After 22 years of working nights, weekends, and holidays, now is the perfect time for me to step away for a work-life balance. I have a wife and two young sons, so I want to be around for as much of their childhood as I can.
From missing parties to baseball games over the years, this is the time that I will never get back. I decided to change career paths so I have no regrets going forward about missing them growing up. You only get one shot at that, and I want to be in their lives for all of the big moments.
Q: I’m curious about how your job evolved over the years. You broke in at a time when people still might not have known the score of the game until they watched the 11 p.m. news, and now they almost always know the outcome before they watch you. How has that changed your job?
Kayata: This business has changed considerably since I first got into it in the early 2000s. No longer are people waiting hours to watch highlights. With social media and streaming networks, our viewers already know who won and how it happened. However, our job has not changed to bring the viewers feature stories about local sports heroes that you can’t get on the cable sports channels or on the regional sports networks.
That is why local news is so important, especially here in Rhode Island. My job has always been to showcase those stories and break the sports news. That is what viewers want and expect for southern New England’s No. 1 TV station.
Q: You’ve covered everything from Super Bowls to the Little League World Series. Do you have a favorite event or team that you’ve covered during your time at Channel 10?
Kayata: I have to admit that the Patriots’ 2007 perfect season attempt was the highlight of my career. I was a young kid who was new to the station and was covering one of the greatest teams in sports history. It was my first Super Bowl to cover, and I remember that week saying to myself, “I am going to be a part of history.”
Well, we all know how that game ended, and instead of reporting on the greatest NFL season ever, I slept in the following day and refused to watch TV after what happened. But it was a learning experience for a young reporter to never get too attached to the story. I went on to cover five more Super Bowls, including three victories.
Q: There is something so special for Rhode Island families when the local TV station shows up to sporting events. What’s your favorite local sports memory?
Kayata: I covered a number of local teams at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. But the 2014 season was something very special to me. Not only was it a chance to cover my hometown team, but it was when head coach Dave Belisle gave that incredible speech during a post-game team meeting on the field after they lost. It was inspiring to be there and be a part of that moment. The Today Show used our truck to put Belisle on the following morning. Those were a special group of kids who I actually still keep in touch with.
Q: You’re too young to actually retire, so what’s next for Joe Kayata?
Kayata: I am very excited to be heading to work for (add)ventures as their director of communications. They are a brand culture and communications firm. I can’t wait to join the talented group of professionals. I will tell their story of growth and expertise to key audiences of both current and future client partners. I will begin this next chapter of my career in early June.
This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, links to interesting stories, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.
Dan McGowan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.