Sunday, January 22, 2006

KSN Layoffs

I got this anonymous e-mail today...

Is anyone we know being laid off at KSN?????

which made me go out and research the KSN situation. I only could find this Wichita Eagle article.

Channel 3 layoffs to come

It's a difficult time for employees of KSN, Channel 3, as they wait for the final paperwork on the station's sale from Emmis Communications Corp. to SJL Broadcasting and affiliates of Blackstone Group.

The station's vice president and general manager, Shawn Oswald, already was told he won't be kept.

"There are going to be layoffs," says Sandra Benton, SJL's chief operating officer. "I'm not going to announce the size of cuts until the staff knows the size of the cuts."

The company will install automated systems wherever it can to do behind-the-scenes jobs like studio camera operation. Benton says the cuts won't be drastic, and she doesn't expect on-air cuts.

Employees will face significant increases in the cost of their benefits. "Our benefits are not as good as Emmis'," Benton says. "We don't have the bargaining power they have."

SJL already owns three television stations and is picking up four Emmis stations. Benton says that cuts were made at every station but that ratings increases followed. "We did the exact same thing we're intending to do in Wichita," she says. KSN is the No. 3 station in Wichita.

Benton won't say whether ratings were the reason Oswald wasn't kept.

"I have to be sensitive to the fact that a very nice man and a very good man was laid off," she says, "and I think the reason that we chose to do that should remain private."

So does anyone know the 411 on what's exactly happening down there? I've also heard through my friends that the people of KSNT in Topeka are also less than thrilled with the new owners. Anyway, post if you've heard anything.


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