When WFLA-TV axed Sports Director Chris Thomas after a 14-year run, it was making a statement on several levels. To wit:
* Thomas made too much money for too little air time.
* Not unlike the Devil Rays, News Channel 8, which already features uncommonly long-term, veteran co-anchors Bob Hite and Gail Sierens at 6 and 11 p.m., wanted to get younger and cheaper.
* The station wanted nothing more than the market norm — a generic, pleasant-faced news reader/reporter — not a “personality.”
* The station didn’t care that in the case of the iconoclastic Thomas, “personality” meant having the only sports-broadcast professional well-informed and talented enough to make it in bigger markets.