Kouvaris' 37-Year Run As WJXT Sports Director Is In Jeopardy In Contract Negotiations

Apr 13, 2018

With his contract having expired two weeks ago, Sam Kouvaris’ 37-year run as the sports director of WJXT-Channel 4 could be coming to an end soon unless the two sides can reach an agreement.

Kouvaris, 62, who hasn’t been on the air since March 27, acknowledged to our Florida Times-Union news partner on Thursday that his status with the television station is in limbo, but that he hoped something could be resolved by end of business day on Friday.

“I still really enjoy my work and I’m hoping to continue doing that,” said Kouvaris. “I sent them a proposal [Thursday] that I hope they respond to.”

General manager Bob Ellis, who is responsible for negotiating contracts with WJXT’s on-air talent, was noncommittal about Kouvaris’ future with the station.

“I don’t talk about negotiations publicly,” Ellis said. “Sam is the most talented television sportscaster in this market. We want him to be part of this market for years to come.”

The sticking point between the two sides appears to be over what Kouvaris’ role might be with the station moving forward. If it’s no longer in a full-time capacity, can the two sides reach a compromise on how much of a reduction in air time or salary that could mean for Kouvaris?

Neither side would comment on any particulars of negotiations. Kouvaris says his last five contracts with WJXT were five-year deals. Paul Harden, a long-time Jacksonville lobbyist who does work for the Jaguars, is Kouvaris’ agent.

You can read a longer version of this story that includes historical photos of Kouvaris and additional information about his career on jacksonville.com.

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