TV or Not TV

Massive layoffs at KTTV Fox 11 in Los Angeles

I’ve been seeing word of this come crashing down among some of my Facebook friends who still work in the industry. A station in a small market like Little Rock/Pine Bluff now probably has a bigger news division than KTTV.

As you can see, the lights are on at KTTV, but there is nobody home

As you can see, the lights are on at KTTV, but there is nobody home

More than 100 people just got the heave-ho, many of them after pulling all-nighters to cover the death of Michael Jackson. They may even be going back to one-man news teams, meaning on-air talent will be responsible for his or her own camera, audio, editing, graphics, and satellite link-up. Seriously, the station’s entire graphics and chyron departments have been eliminated, as well as a ton of editors, asst. directors (read: segment producers), and even lowly production assistants. Still trying to get hard numbers, but most if not all of the sports division has been cut, which is fine during football season, but LA has two basketball teams, two hockey teams, two baseball teams, and a soccer team… and that’s not even counting all the college teams in the area.

Many have been given a few months, but, come September, there will be a skeleton crew at Fox 11. And since the helicopter staff is rumored to be among those cut, it is doubtful they could even cover a car chase anymore (or, hypothetically, circle above UCLA Medical Center for hours and hours).

This is big, gang. The internet’s encroachment on print media is old news, but to see a station in the number two market in the nation reduced to a smaller staff than the TV station I ran at my college… this is a blow.

KCOP 13 tried to work with KTTV 11 to combine news staff a few years ago, but ultimately KCOP dropped their newscast altogether. KCAL 9 borrows/steals from sister station KCBS 2 (as well as A LOT of CNN’s prepackaged news pieces). KNBC 4’s senior anchor, Paul Moyer (the last of the old guard), put in for retirement not too long ago. KTLA 5’s senior anchors have either passed away or retired, and, in the last several years, they have relied heavily on newspapers and newspaper reporters for their news. A few years ago there was a mass exodus over at KABC 7… most flocking to KCBS. The whole city is in flux.

Not that it has been great, but TV journalism in Los Angeles is rapidly going down the tubes.

13 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    KCOP still has a nightly 30 minute newscast — seven days a week at 11 pm on Channel 13

  2. Erica says:

    Still in shock, I don’t have much to say regarding this article.
    However, Kevin, the Production Assistants at KTTV are anything but “lowly”.

  3. Rich Muirhead says:

    Actually, LA has 2 soccer teams, too.

  4. Erica, I agree PAs are not lowly, but they are the lowest (and lowest paid) rung on the totem pole, so it is worth pointing out that nobody is safe this round.

    Rich, that you know there are two soccer teams in LA is proof you have less of a life than I do.

  5. Carolina says:

    It sucks that so many people have lost or will lose their jobs. But honestly, have they not been paying attention? Stations all over Los Angeles have already undergone major cuts and layoffs… KTTV was the only one that hasn’t. All stations country-wide have been losing money due to advertising sales being down. I feel for all those people, but in reality it was coming.
    Having said that… Los Angeles news has been in a downward spiral since KCBS and KCAL joined forces years ago. When corparate decided to make news about the bottom line is when news started to decline. What we see going on in this business is a symptom of corporate not forseeing the future and utilizing other outlets to generate revenue. We’ve been hearing about how the internet is (was) the decline of televisioin news, but if the corporate heads had been on the ball and been proactive, they too could have jumped on the internet band wagon to make some money. But instead they paid themselves well and are now reacting to the internet and scrambling to stay afloat by firing all the people who do the work.

  6. Treadstone says:

    Well, KNBC ended their helicopter program on a national basis last month. All O&O NBC stations are trying to share aerials with an existing fox chopper in each market, including here in LA. While rumor is NBC is getting nothing for their half of the deal, (and their half of the $$), it would be hard to believe that KTTV dumped their helicopter staff in friday’s blood bath. Stay tuned, local tv is gonna get (not) interesting.

  7. Apparently yesterday was the last day for a reported 117 people at KTTV. I know, directly or indirectly, some of those let go. And I know, directly or indirectly, some of the few who have been allowed to remain. I think they’d do better news if their situations were reversed, but that is just my opinion.

  8. Michael Thomas says:

    Actually LA has only 1 MLB baseball Team. The Angels are from Anaheim not LA. Different city, different county. Most of the fans are from Orange County. Get you story straight before you get fired also.

  9. An excellent point, Michael, and I’d happily print a retraction were it not for the fact the owner of the team had the name officially changed to include “Los Angeles” in its title. So, whereas you and I know they are an Anaheim-based team, an actual verdict in a California courthouse ruled they are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and therefore we are both right.

    Or we are both wrong.

    Or the owner of the team is a moron.

  10. Kim says:

    There could be more to this than “the internet” and a company trying to cut costs. Fox had a large number of daily hires who were not staff. Daily hires are paid more because the have no promise of job security, seems a fair trade right? They were all let go along with lower level staff members. Sure, this could be seen as regular cut-backs. However, buying out senior staff members was not even considered, even though several put their names in. Now, some of these same senior staff members have been plugged into jobs they have never done before (you can do that with engineers,right? like light bulbs?). They were told they would be retrained. So, several have announced their retirement! Hmmm…. is “all fair” when the company is trying to cut costs? Newer staff members, some of whom had been daily hires previously, were already faced with this a few years back, become staff at the lower rate or lose your job! Now, these people were let go too, as well as some of the transfers from KCOP 13. Job security?? When Fox cleaned house before, it didn’t work, EVERYONE (even the daily hires) was brought back. It will be interesting though to see how many of the senior staff remain when the Union contract is re-negotiated, and Fox will suddenly be struck with the realization that they are under-staffed! Surprise, surprise! What ever will they do? Perhaps, call some daily hires and offer them a deal to become staff???? By then will they still be required to call back those on the top of the roster? Or have they already broken that rule? Hmmm…. It appears as though pencil-pushers made the decision, drawing the line and everyone below it gets laid-off, regardless of training, experience, even awards. Funny though how the lay-offs have caused those who are left in the shop to keep one eye on the door and the other on their backs. The mood is grim. Where the heck is the Union!? Word is, the graphics department has filed suit (it was in their contract the entire department couldn’t be shut down all at once). Scuttle-but also has it that Master Control is next, possibly transferred, yes transferred, to Arizona, then there will be more lay-offs. One way or another the workers at the top of the pay scale will be gone, from the old guard, to daily hires, middle management, and specialized personnel as well as the “lowly” assistants that they can pick on. Already gone are the days of the ridiculously expensive, local news-anchor, their value diminished by our ability to get news online and from cable. OK, fine, but do we really want to have virtually NO local news media anymore? Is it true that all we require is regurgitated Fox News Channel and CNN stories. How long can Fox 11 maintain the coveted #1, and isn’t that important to the pencil-pushers too? After all, that was the point at which they took over, when the news started getting Neilsen ratings and started to become entertainment. Yes, ad revenues are down, but don’t let ‘em fool you, they still make a profit, just not the outrageous ones they used to make. Or, could it be more important for Roger Ailes to finally be rid of the “red-headed stepchild” that channel 11 has always been, with its liberal employees, cut off from the rest of Fox. Then he can pour more money into Fox Business Network. Do you really think they’re gonna let that relatively new and very expensive helicopter they are renting go to waste? Maybe they can rent it out for tours to O’ Reilly, Glenn Beck, Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Don Imus so they can watch L.A. burn. Oh, and to Carolina, the execs did have their eye on the internet, they put traffic on it, ’cause THAT is the the first place you look when your stuck in traffic, right?!!!– the internet!!! I guess this goes without saying, but no execs were laid-off.

  11. Al Filnder says:

    Great news.

  12. KICK HER TO THE CURB NOW says:

    WISH THAY GOT RID OF THAT ANNOYING ASS JILLIAN REYNOLDS

    BARBERIE, OR WHATEVA! SHE’S SUCH AN ANNOYING OLD ASS

    FAKER!!!

  13. Aisha says:

    Jullian Reynolds thinks she is soooooo everything. Why don’t she shut up sometimes and let other people talk who know what they are talking about. When are they going to get rid of her.
    Often wondered why Steve Edwards does not us his real name????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>