Eric Gullickson said he is looking forward to being just a sports fan again.
After spending 14 years as a sports anchor/reporter, including the last eight at WABI, he will begin a new chapter of his life as a news anchor at WITN in Greenville, North Carolina, next week.
He will be on the air at 6 a.m. and again at noon. He will also be a producer.
“It was time for a change and I was able to transfer to another [Gray Television] affiliate,” Gullickson said. Gray Television owns WABI and WITN. “It’s going to be a new challenge but it will allow me to have a more normal work schedule.”
Gullickson, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Sunday, said his hours at WABI were long and he often didn’t get home until after midnight.
The Hopkins, Minnesota, native and 2005 University of Maine graduate was a weekend sports anchor and reporter at Fox 21 in Duluth, Minnesota, for three years after spending three years in a similar capacity at KEYC-TV in Mankato, Minnesota.
He began his TV career as a photojournalist and production assistant at WVII-TV Channel 7 in Bangor.
“This will also be a big opportunity for me to grow,” Gullickson said.
“Gully did a fantastic job for us,” WABI news director Jon Small said. “Nobody worked harder than he did. He had a big heart. He cared about the local athletes and local teams and how they were presented. During the pandemic, when there were no sports, he did a phenomenal job finding stories. We’re really going to miss him.”
Small said news reporter Bryan Sidelinger, who was Gullickson’s back-up when Gullickson was on vacation or was off, and Connor Clement, who was hired as a news reporter last September, will fill the void until they hire a new sports director/anchor.
Gullickson spent six years working with longtime WABI sports director/ anchor Tim Throckmorton before Throckmorton retired in May 2019.
Gullickson said he loved having the opportunity to learn about all the communities in Maine and interact with the people.
“That was the best. It was really fun connecting with the people. And they would open up to me and give me interesting tidbits and stories. Even though I am from away, they made me feel like I belonged here. They were comfortable enough to talk to me about things,” he said.
Gullickson said he was proud of the work he and Throckmorton did.
He pointed out that the industry has changed and that social media makes it easier for people to get the latest results and information.
“Tim and I used to have four and a half to five-minute segments but I was down to three minutes,” he said.
News Center Maine, WCSH in Portland and WLBZ in Bangor, don’t have a sports anchor and their newscasts sometimes have no sports content at all.
“There are a lot more job opportunities in news than there are in sports. And news jobs are more sustainable,” Gullickson said.
He said his love of sports will not be affected by his new job and he said he is sure his hour-long midday segment will contain sports content.
“I’m not going to love sports any less. I’ll enjoy sports even more because I won’t be looking for stories or stats. I’ll just be a fan,” Gullickson said.