KCOY, KKFX lays off employees

2012-01-06T00:00:00Z KCOY, KKFX lays off employeesBy Brian Bullock/Staff Writer bbullock@santamariatimes.com Santa Maria Times

In a corporate move to reorganize its Central Coast television stations, Cowles California Media Company on Wednesday laid off approximately a dozen employees from its two Santa Maria stations.

The action will take effect Jan. 13, and move the anchor desk of local evening news at both KCOY and KKFX to the company's KION headquarters in Salinas.

Kevin Harlan, general manager of the two stations, said the move was purely a business decision in tough economic times.

"We did lay off people yesterday. The economics of the television business have changed," said Harlan, who has been with the company for about three years. "We continue to pick up market share, but the market is getting smaller."

Cowles California Media Company owns CBS and Fox affiliate stations in both Santa Maria and Santa Cruz, T23 Telemundo and the Central Coast CW (NION-TV), also both in the Monterey Bay area.

The company is a division of The Cowles Company, based in Spokane, Wash. which runs three NBC affiliates.

Calls to Cowles California Media Company were met with a busy signal Thursday.

Harlan wouldn't comment on which employees were laid off, but according to multiple sources all of the stations' photographers, much of the production staff and some senior management were among those let go.

Meteorologist Jim Byrne and weekend sports anchor Kevin Roose have also been laid off.

Harlan said despite the layoffs, local news will continue to be covered, and compared the reorganization to watching national news, which covers the country but is anchored in New York.

"The good news is, we'll have more reporters on the street for our evening newscast, but they'll be anchored out of our Monterey (County) station," he said.

Current sports editor Dave Alley reportedly will be assigned to general news stories.

The stations will still air local news broadcasts at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. on KCOY, and 7 and 10 p.m. on Fox 11. Harlan said the 10 p.m. Fox 11 news is being expanded from 30 minutes to a one-hour broadcast.

The company's morning newscast, anchored by Tony Cipolla and Cassandra Jones, will still be hosted locally from 6 to 7 a.m. on KCOY - a reduction of an hour - and 7 to 8 a.m. on Fox 11.

"What we're trying to do is economize but still give the community the news it needs," Harlan said. "We will cover sports; we will just not have a dedicated sports segment."

The move signals the end of an era at KCOY. The station was founded in 1964 by a group of Santa Maria residents seeking local television news production, including former city Mayor Ed Zuchelli.

Both stations are actively involved in community activities including holiday food and toy drives. KCOY also broadcasts many local events including the Elks Rodeo Parade and Christmas Parade of Lights. Harlan said that community involvement would continue.


Copyright 2015 Santa Maria Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(15) Comments

  1. strapontongue
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    strapontongue - January 24, 2012 11:04 am
    The idea of this being the opportunity for a new local news source to grow from is great. Technology is on our side and we don't have the broadcast expense with the internet. We still need to keep our community in mind. Keep them informed and involved and let them know more then what the authorities want them to know.
  2. Miss Santa Maria
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    Miss Santa Maria - January 16, 2012 8:10 pm
    JIM BYRNE was the only genuine personality on that news. Regardless of any changes, it won't be the same without him.
  3. Walker bait
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    Walker bait - January 15, 2012 10:22 am
    So they keep the "morning" news ? Are you kidding me ? Watching cipola and his trusty sidekick "Cassie" makes me want to vomit. All they do is ramble about the 3 p's, whether she's started christmas shopping and other meaningless babble. Their a joke !
    Hey Cassandra, quit telling tony your weather forecast and tell it directly to the viewers. Their may only be a couple but were the ones watching, not Tony.
  4. AHiker
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    AHiker - January 13, 2012 2:54 pm
    yeah. The largest City in SB county. But its not really a city. Its more of a prison sentence.
  5. Ken
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    Ken - January 13, 2012 2:52 pm
    Here come more Sheriff spokepersons! Move over Drew Sugars. And darn, we wont get to watch the weather report about 12 times each morning. The "no wait" weather, that we ultimately did wait for because the opener was just a tease, gone. Wonder if we will get to hear the CHP report 6 times still? Should have cut back when you could, rather than waiting until you have to!
    Report Abuse
    CONCERNED - January 09, 2012 10:03 pm
    KCOY did NO investigative reporting and only released crime information GIVEN to them by the SMPD. What use is a news station that only tells you what the police dept wants you to know? The reason for the closure is simple - who wants to advertise with them? Advertisers look at the demographics for our city and say no thanks. Perhaps when dollar stores and taco trucks start advertising we can look forward to a local news station.
  7. Zorrox
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    Zorrox - January 09, 2012 9:07 am
    This is actually a great opportunity for Santa Marians to start a truly local news program ... Maybe we could fund Mr. Zuchelli in an effort? I know the man somewhat and he seems to be cut from the same cloth as his dad (who was a great guy!) I, too, suspect that advertisers would prefer a program that actually covers the local area (although the national and state ad reps probably don't spend the time to actually find out)...A phone campaign targeting advertisers might prove very persuasive in getting support for a new station. Certainly worth the effort.
  8. WyettEarp
    Report Abuse
    WyettEarp - January 07, 2012 6:11 am
    sweething said: "KCOY/FOX has and always will report breaking/local News at it's best in spite of the changes in an economic down fall it only makes sense to consolidate the workforce to better the community it will be better for all viewers and the local sports will continue to air local. Weather and Breaking News will be the same. don't stress sit back enjoy the changes and watch for the great reporting and forget the negative talk. KCOY FOX IS #1 "

    Very funny!

    How long have you been working for them?

    The local news on KCOY TV has been lousy for years and worst in the last couple.

    And you think it is going to be as good, which isn't very good at all, as it always has been by running out of not only another city but another county?

    You need to stop smoking your gym socks!

  9. LiveFreeorDie
    Report Abuse
    LiveFreeorDie - January 06, 2012 10:50 pm
    I can't stand the pre-packaged weather reports as it is! We need local LOCAL news reporters. These out of county bozo's are a joke - they don't even know how to pronounce LomPOKE, BETTER-rave-EE-ah, or SIS-qwok. Write them in phonics if you need to, but PRONOUNCE them correctly! UGH!
  10. Davey1
    Report Abuse
    Davey1 - January 06, 2012 7:24 pm
    Nice spin sweething. You must work for Cowles. But your propaganda campaign runs into some factual errors. The company has already admitted that local sports will air just once or twice a week. And depleting your news and production crew will not improve local coverage. Expect more packaged news with an increase of water skiing squirrels, youtube videos, and American Idol biographies. Breaking news?? How can you cover breaking news with a shoestring budget and skeleton crew?
  11. sweething
    Report Abuse
    sweething - January 06, 2012 5:59 pm
    KCOY/FOX has and always will report breaking/local News at it's best in spite of the changes in an economic down fall it only makes sense to consolidate the workforce to better the community it will be better for all viewers and the local sports will continue to air local. Weather and Breaking News will be the same. don't stress sit back enjoy the changes and watch for the great reporting and forget the negative talk. KCOY FOX IS #1
  12. TheFinger
    Report Abuse
    TheFinger - January 06, 2012 4:37 pm
    Have you ever watched the morning news on KCOY TV? These people are funny as h e l l !

    They look like a 7th grade media class trying to do TV!

    It is so funny!

    And they wonder why no one was watching?

  13. Puppett
    Report Abuse
    Puppett - January 06, 2012 2:38 pm
    i thought santa maria was a big city now guess not huh.
  14. Davey1
    Report Abuse
    Davey1 - January 06, 2012 11:03 am
    How do they expect to sell advertising to local businesses while deserting local news and sports?

    It's one thing to send pre-packaged news from Salinas, it's another thing all together to ignore local sports. From High School Football and Basketball to the Santa Maria Speedway highlights, locals tune in to see local results.

    Let's hope that the suits who made this decision have a change of heart (if they have one) and not abandon the local market.

    It's all too familiar. They're betting no one will notice.

    I'm betting people WILL notice.

    Call Cowles Media at 831-784-6300 to voice your concern over the loss of local sports coverage.

    We can make a difference!
  15. Orcutt_Guy
    Report Abuse
    Orcutt_Guy - January 06, 2012 5:25 am
    Well, that pretty much suxs...
    Guess I'll be watching KSBY a lot more for the the local touch.
    Good luck to the laid off folks.

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