Editor's Note

Media B.S.

Another day, another round of media cutbacks.

That's the way it goes in Tucson (and most other U.S. communities) these days. The latest news: Belo announced on Tuesday, Nov. 15, that it was eliminating its in-house 9 p.m. newscast on KMSB Channel 11 as of Feb. 1, and would instead contract with KOLD Channel 13 to do the KMSB newscast, as well as a two-hour morning-news show.

KOLD will probably need to hire some people to produce the additional newscasts—but the station won't be hiring anywhere near as many people as KMSB will let go. (Full disclosure: I know a fair number of KMSB employees who will soon be unemployed, because the Tucson Weekly teams up with the station for an entertainment segment that airs each Thursday.)

Belo's cuts come on the heels of yet more Clear Channel radio layoffs, as the conglomerate is placing less of an emphasis on local voices, and more of an emphasis on out-of-market "talent" doing voice-tracked shifts in numerous cities.

Of course, Belo and Clear Channel are businesses with stockholders and whatnot, and they need to make profits. I understand that.

I don't understand why company representatives feel the need to spew forth lies when they make their cuts.

"This agreement will help Belo better serve its Tucson viewers and improve the local programming provided by our Tucson stations," said the Belo news release announcing the cancellation of its in-house newscast in favor of the contract with KOLD.

In the midst of the latest Clear Channel cuts, a company rep told media website Billboard.biz that regional marketing managers and programming managers would "focus more on their local brands and engage more with their audiences and local communities," even as local on-air talent was being eliminated.

The idea that Tucsonans will be "better served" by having fewer local TV reporters and on-air DJs in town is bullshit, pure and simple. These companies care far more about profits than they do about serving Tucsonans.

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