If Pete Gallivan were a politician instead of a newsman at heart, he’d probably be accused of being a flip-flopper.
Almost four months to the day that he announced he was leaving Channel 2 to take a public relations job in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration, Gallivan is returning to Channel 2 to work in the station’s sports and news departments.
After laughing loudly at the flip-flopper suggestion, Gallivan had a quick retort.
“I’m a big enough man and have been married long enough to realize if the fit is not right, it is not fair to stay in the job any longer,” said Gallivan.
When he left Channel 2 in March after 17 years, Gallivan explained that he was 47 and he thought “if I was going to try something new, now was the time to do it.”
It took only three months to lead him back to his old TV home.
“The demands of this job didn’t really mesh with the demands at home with my family,” said Gallivan. “I coach hockey, have three teenage children. I underestimated the 24/7 aspect of always being on call. It was more the job wasn’t the right fit for me.”
He believes his new job at Channel 2 is “the perfect fit.”
Gallivan said General Manager Jim Toellner and News Director Jeff Woodard told him when he left in March that the door was always open for him to return if things didn’t work out. He called Woodard a few weeks ago. A few days after Woodard talked to Toellner, Gallivan was told he would concentrate on sports in his new job but also report and anchor on the news side.
“That made it even better,” said Gallivan. “My passion has always been hockey and to do sports and have the opportunity to do news and unknown stories of Western New York – it’s perfect fit for me. When Woody told me what my role would be, I said, ‘If someone asked me to draw up the job I would like to do, that is what it would be.’ ”
Gallivan’s return also is a good deal for Channel 2. It gives the station a backup plan if “Daybreak” co-anchor John Beard decides to leave in a few years and prevents a local competitor from grabbing Gallivan if and when his old Channel 2 contract expires.
In a sense, Gallivan will have the same combo news and sports role that Matt Pearl had at Channel 2 before he left for a job in Atlanta. A fourth sports opening was available after Ed Kilgore recently left his part-time Channel 2 job to work for Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. Gallivan will be looking to do the same kind of longer sports features that Pearl produced and also will be working on the news side when needed.
He understands that his short-lived stint in the Cuomo administration will make him ineligible to report on certain political stories.
“I think there will be stories that Channel 2 will be apprehensive putting me on,” agreed Gallivan. “Some of the things that I worked on will more than likely go to other reporters because of a perceived conflict of interest. A perceived conflict of interest is as bad as a conflict of interest.”
He said he did learn some positive things in his brief time working for the governor.
“Everyone has the best interest of Western New York in their heart and mind,” said Gallivan. “That part was really gratifying. Politicians may differ on the approach, but turning around Western New York is in their minds, and that’s something I really like, being a native Buffalonian.”
“I also got a great lesson and perspective on how things work from the other side,” added Gallivan. “Sometimes I think reporters believe people are side-stepping or skirting a question. A lot of times it takes a long time to get enough information. It is not as easy as I thought it was from the other side.”
Now that he will be back reporting, Gallivan said, he is very excited.
“I’m sure I’ll have a lot of things to report on the Sabres,” he said with a laugh.