5 Questions with...NBC 5's Rob Elgas

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5 Questions with...NBC 5's Rob Elgas

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

January 13, 2010

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeka huge Chicago sports fan who is one of the citys rising stars in the local broadcast news worldhes a morning fixture with co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin on NBC 5 Chicagos morning news telecasts (M-F, 4:30-7:00 AM)here are 5 Questions withROB ELGAS!

BIO: Rob Elgas joined NBC 5 News in August 2002 as a general assignment reporter. He now co-anchors NBC 5's morning newscasts along with Zoraida Sambolin. A two-time Emmy winner, Elgas came to NBC 5 from the ABC affiliate in El Paso, Texas, where he anchored their two-hour morning program. Prior to the El Paso station, Elgas worked for the NBC affiliate in Champaign. His duties included photographer ('one-man band'), reporter, fill-in anchor, and even weather forecaster. In 2005, Elgas won a regional Emmy for a feature story called "Stuck in the Middle". Elgas also covered the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy along with fellow anchor Paula Faris. Rob and Paula, along with a top notch production staff, won a regional Emmy in 2006 for "Hometown Hopefuls", a half hour program about Chicagos winter Olympic athletes.

Born in Arlington Heights and raised in Crystal Lake, Rob calls Chicago home. He loves sports, and you might find him on the hardwood playing hoops, or watching any Chicago team during the year. Rob attended the University of Illinois in ChampaignUrbana, studying broadcast journalism and agricultural communications. His family now lives in southern Texas, near the border of Mexico -- a place Rob calls his home away from home.

1) CSNChicago.com: Rob, back in July in our very first edition of 5 Questions with we interviewed WTMX morning host Eric Ferguson who mentioned he once played in a media basketball league with you, WGN 9s Mark Suppelsa, CBS 2s Rob Johnson and Comcast SportsNets very own Mark Schanowski. Including yourself, how would you rank the skill level of each of these media personalities and briefly list their on-court strengthsweaknesses?

Elgas: Now thats a sweet weekend warrior team! Suppelsa and Ferguson in the backcourt, Schanowski and Johnson playing the 3 and 4, and yours truly in the middle. Wait, Im the big guy at just 62? Were toast. I match-up well with those dudes from the Matadors.

Suppelsa is like a gray-haired energizer bunny out there. He buzzes around and finds a way to the ball. A guy you always like having on your team. He hasnt played with us in a while due to a shoulder injury. But Im not quite sure how that happened. Isnt he almost 50??

Ferguson is solid. Hes got range, can play guard or move around in the paint. You better have a hand up if hes behind the arc. But I have to tell you, he hasnt been around much since he brought his trainer once and that guy left for the hospital to get staples in his head.

Crazy story: This big dude, like 66 and really athletic, takes a freak elbow (not mine, but those boney things are lethal too) to the top of the head. He and Eric never came back. Cant blame them, with the blood and all.

Johnson and I only played once or twice together. He seems pretty good at just about anything he does, so Im thinking he can hold his own. A little quicker than youd expect, great shooter, would be a tough match-up for Suppelsa.

Schanowski and I worked together at the start of my career at Channel 5, in 2002. Hes a class act. It was great to shoot the breeze in the Sports department with Mark and Darrian Chapman. Chapman had game too. Those two were some of the first media guys I played with in Chicago. So you know Schanowskis knowledge and insight for the gamethats how he plays. Smart and patient.

2) CSNChicago.com: Youre a Chicago guy and huge Chicago sports fan, but its decision time with this next question. With the Winter Olympic Games coming up next month (with NBC providing non-stop event coverage from Feb. 12-28), from a fan standpoint, would you rather attend a Winter Olympics event for the sheer spectacle of being there or attend a playoff game involving one of Chicagos pro teams with a natural heightened personal interest?
Elgas: This is an easy answer.

Let me start by saying I covered the Olympics in Turin 4 years ago and it was probably the greatest experience of my broadcasting career. The spectacle of the event, the gathering of so many people from the globe, the whole feel of the Games is unreal.

But I was so busy reporting for our 10pm and morning newscasts, I slept in four-hour shifts to get stories on the air, and only saw ONE event live. It was this chilly little stadium and we watched USAs Joey Cheek speed skate to a gold and silver. Funny, I also enjoyed a few cold beers (BUDWEISER!) tapped from the concession stand. Youd think theyd have Peroni or something. God bless America.

Having said that (thanks Larry David), theres nothing Id rather see in sports than a Chicago playoff game.

Flashback: Watching the Bears throttle New Orleans, the gentle snow coming down like we were encased in some magic snow globe, was probably the greatest live sports experience for me. My brother called it the greatest day of his life (besides his marriage and the birth of his children of course).

A post-season game at Wrigley brings about a vibe unlike any other. (Not the vibe Eric Ferguson and I witnessed with Grant DePorter two years ago during Little League practice against the Dodgers). But I digress

Sox Park for the playoffs, that place kills! Its a formidable stadium for any opponent. The Sox play like theyve been there before, well, because they have been there before.

And the Hawks! Last years Western Conference Finals are just a taste of whats to come. Theyre bringing back passion of years past.

I remember going to my first Hawks game at the Stadium, stacked high and tight in the rafters. My Dad leaning over and saying, Son, when they start singing it will be so loud you cant hear yourself think. Confused and flushed with excitement I thought, So wait, I dont have to stand up and sing?

Bulls, Fire, Wolves. Doesnt matter. The post season is gold in the Chi. Any game is a joy to watch. Any playoff game is a life long memory.

3) CSNChicago.com: Anchoring the local morning news in Chicago is certainly a nice gig for anyone in your business. What time do you start your day and whats your routine once you arrive at the NBC 5 offices and, a follow-up question, who generally gets into the office first: you or Zoraida?

Elgas: It's an incredible job. Im lucky to be doing it. And I've never once woken up dreading going to work.

My alarm goes off at 2:04 AM. My second alarm will go off at 2:14 AM if I don't smack the clock the first time. After staring at my Blackberry for a few minutes, I get the day going and I'm in at about 3:10 AM. Zoraida is in about the same time, but gets up even earlier! I think she's up by 1:30 AM. And the early riser of all of us: Andy Avalos. His SUV is there every single time I pull in. After makeup (lots of it) and coffee (lots more) we hit the air at 4:30 AM. And go live until 7.

It's one of the oddest schedules in TV news. Well, besides our producers who are usually here by midnight. Its the total opposite of when I was reporting for the evening news. The toughest part of my day is the first four hours, not the last four. I've learned to adjust my life accordingly. I simply go to bed. EARLY. By 7:00 PM if possible. It throws a wrench into watching sports, especially come playoff time.

People ask me all the time, How do you go to bed at dinner? Isnt that hard, especially in the summer? Its simple: get up at 2:00 AM for a week and youll understand. Youre tired.

4) CSNChicago.com: What are three keys to success that you would give to any aspiring broadcast journalist trying to get into your field?

Elgas: Dedication, confidence and sacrifice.

In 15 years of working in television news, I've probably had weekends off 4 TOTAL YEARS. What I mean is, I worked Saturdays and Sundays most of my career, getting days like Monday or Tuesday off.

5) CSNChicago.com: The pairing of you and Zoraida in the morning seems to have paid off nicely for NBC 5. Explain why the chemistry between the two of you works so well for a morning TV audience?

Elgas: Zoraida and I worked weekends together and gelled almost immediately. We're both very comfortable together and her strengths compliment my weaknesses. It's easy to look good when the person next to you can handle their job.

We truly enjoy working on this show together with Andy, Mike Lorber, Kim Vatis and Matt Rodewald. Our behind the scenes staff, the writers, editors, directors, studio people, they all make it fun. Its the most talented group Ive ever been around. And when youre up that early with other people, theres this natural connection and feeling of family. We wade through Mondays together. And look forward to the weekend and some extra sleep.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you want to promote Rob? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it
Elgas: Check out our new morning show webpage at nbcchicago.com. Just search morning show. You see some of the fun behind the scenes stuff we just cant show you on the show.

Elgas LINKS:

NBC 5 Chicago website

E-mail Rob Elgas

NBA Buzz: In wake of trade deadline, Bulls again caught in the middle

NBA Buzz: In wake of trade deadline, Bulls again caught in the middle

Thursday's trade with Oklahoma City points out the problem with trying to stay in playoff contention while also rebuilding the roster with more young and athletic players.

The Bulls obviously hurt their postseason chances by dealing locker-room leader and rock-solid pro Taj Gibson and their best 3-point shooter in Doug McDermott. And, at first glance, the players they got back don't look very impressive.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson made it clear that one of the objectives in Thursday's deal was to free up playing time for his last two first-round draft picks, Denzel Valentine and Bobby Portis. He also made it clear that newly acquired point guard Cameron Payne would play a lot over the final 25 games of the season.

So, how does Fred Hoiberg now deal with an unwieldy number of players expecting to get minutes? If Payne is going to play, that probably means Rajon Rondo is out of the rotation. But will Rondo sit by quietly so the Bulls can preserve his $14 million salary slot for possible trades this summer? Or will the front office be forced to offer him a contract buyout?

And what about the other two players acquired in the Oklahoma City deal? Long-range specialist Anthony Morrow is suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career, hitting just 29 percent of his attempts from 3-point range. Will he get the minutes previously given to McDermott, or is he a candidate for a buyout? Paxson cryptically said Morrow's role is "still to be defined."

Joffrey Lauvergne, a 6-foot-11 center, has some ability, but he's a restricted free agent at season's end and it's hard to project him getting any meaningful playing time behind Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio.

So let's add it all up. Hoiberg now has four point guards — five if you count Isaiah Canaan — and three centers to juggle, plus he'll have to find minutes for Valentine, Morrow and Paul Zipser at the wing spots behind Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade.

How will Portis fare as the new starting power forward? And what to do with Nikola Mirotic? His fading confidence is probably at a new low after the team's failed efforts to find him a new home before the deadline.

It will be fascinating to see if this team can manage to hold onto a playoff spot after losing Gibson and McDermott, to say nothing of the maddening inconsistency we've witnessed over the first 57 games of the season.

Good health will be critical, with the team's two best players, Butler and Wade, each enduring some bumps and bruises in the final weeks leading up to the All-Star break. We've seen what the Bulls look like without Butler, and it's not pretty. They're 1-5 in the games Butler missed because of illness and a right heel contusion.

The story is different when Wade has been out. The Bulls are 5-4 in the games he's missed because of illness, injury or just plain rest. Still, the 12-time All Star has shown the ability to raise the level of his play when the games matter most, and you can expect he'll be a big factor for the Bulls down the stretch. Don't forget, Wade almost single-handedly took an undermanned Miami team to within a win of the Eastern Conference Finals last season with a turn-back-the-clock playoff performance.

Hard to gain much from looking at the remaining schedule. Only 11 of the remaining 25 opponents have winning records, but we've all seen how that's gone in the past. If the Bulls can head into April around .500, they should be in position to make a strong closing run with a pair of matchups against the NBA's worst team, Brooklyn, along with games against the Pelicans, Knicks, 76ers and Magic to close out the regular season.

Of course, since Hoiberg has been told to give significant minutes to Portis, Valentine and Payne the rest of the way, it's possible making the playoffs isn't quite as important as it was at the start of the season. Questions about Butler's future will start up again as we approach the NBA Draft in June since Paxson wouldn't commit to trying to build around the three-time All Star, and if Butler goes, it's a pretty safe bet that Wade follows him out the door.

Life's never easy in the NBA when you're stuck in the middle. Maybe the trade with Oklahoma City is the signal we've been waiting for that a full rebuild is on the horizon.

[MORE BULLS: What the Bulls are getting in point guard Cameron Payne]

Here are a few stories from around the Association that have caught my attention.

Off to see the Wizards

The Wizards have been on fire since Dec. 12, putting together a 25-12 record. In case you haven't noticed, fourth-year forward Otto Porter is among the league leaders in 3-point percentage, shooting 46.5 percent to go along with 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. It's going to cost the Wizards a small fortune to sign the restricted free agent this summer.

Washington's backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal is finally starting to reach the potential everyone saw when the Wizards upset the Bulls in the first round of the 2014 playoffs. The two are combining for an average of 45 points and 14 assists per game, with Wall now a perennial All Star capable of taking over games with his scoring and playmaking. Beal probably should have made the Eastern Conference All-Star team as well with his 22.2 points per game scoring average, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from behind the 3-point line.

The Wizards also made an under-the-radar pick-up, getting Bojan Bogdanovic from Brooklyn for a first-round pick in this summer's draft. You probably haven't watched a lot of Brooklyn Nets basketball over the last couple years, but Bogdanovic is a good 3-point shooter who can also score off the dribble, averaging 14 points a game this season, while shooting 44 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point range. Bogdanovic will be a major upgrade for a Wizards bench that's struggled this season.

Moving to Canada

Toronto made two good moves before the deadline, acquiring a starting power forward in Serge Ibaka and a backup small forward in P.J. Tucker. Ibaka's ability to block shots and stretch the floor from the 3-point line should help the Raptors on both ends, while Tucker gives them another strong perimeter defender to go along with DeMarre Carroll in a possible playoff series against LeBron James and the Cavs.

LeBron loading up

Speaking of the Cavs, they're expected to add former Illini star Deron Williams to their bench once he clears waivers and completes a buyout with Dallas. Williams gives Cleveland the additional playmaker James has been demanding for the last couple months and sets up a potentially epic Finals matchup against Golden State. Williams gets a chance to compete for a championship late in his career, and he's still capable of being a difference maker in big games, averaging 13 points and seven assists per game. Cleveland is now loaded in the backcourt with Kyrie Irving, Williams, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and swingman Kyle Korver.

No luck for the Celtics

The one contending team that didn't make a move at the deadline is Boston. Danny Ainge talked trade with the Bulls about Butler and with Indiana about Paul George, but in the end he wasn't willing to give up those precious Brooklyn first-round draft picks he's been hoarding for years. Keep in mind the Celtics reportedly love University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz, who's expected to be the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, and they'll have enough cap room to make a run at free-agent swingman Gordon Hayward, who played for Brad Stevens at Butler.

Even with the addition of Butler or George, the Celtics might not have been able to take down King James and the Cavs in this year's playoffs, but they are still lurking as the rising power in the East. Now, we'll all have to wait to see what Ainge does in the days leading up to the draft.

Quote of the week

Gibson gave the Chicago media one last lengthy session before boarding a private jet with McDermott to their new home in Oklahoma City.

On his time in Chicago: "Every day I came to the locker room just seeing my name on the back of a Bulls jersey was a dream come true."

So what will it be like to join a new team after eight and a half seasons in Chicago? "I'm like a kid going to a new school. I don't know where to sit on the bus."

Something tells me Russell Westbrook and the Thunder will let Gibson have any seat he wants.

Good luck in Oklahoma City, Taj (and Doug). You will be missed by Bulls fans and media.

CSN Chicago expands regional broadcast plans for Fire

CSN Chicago expands regional broadcast plans for Fire

CSN Chicago has expanded their regional broadcasting plans for the 2017 Chicago Fire season.

The expansion includes 29 MLS fixtures, 36 episodes of Fire Weekly, and four behind-the-scenes episodes of Fire All-Access.

"Throughout our 20th season, CSN Chicago will be providing viewers unprecedented coverage of the Chicago Fire Soccer Club," said Fire COO Atul Khosla. "We’re thrilled to be able to team with CSN Chicago to share more than 100 hours of live, original content to fans throughout the region."

"We are proud to be the regional television home for the Fire and fans can count on us once again to deliver expert game coverage, pre-game shows for every telecast, and expanded offerings of Fire-related programming throughout the 2017 MLS campaign," added Phil Bedella, VP/GM of CSN Chicago.

Fire Weekly, presented by The PrivateBank, will debut on Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. on CSN+. It will be also be available via live stream on CSNChicago.com.

Fire All-Access will premiere on Wednesday, March 8 at 9:30 p.m. on CSN and streamed at CSNChicago.com.

Click here to see CSN's Broadcast Schedule.