Former KMTR Meteorologist Speaks Out on Sinclair Takeover

Joseph Calbreath, former morning meteorologist at KMTR Eugene, has sounded off on Fisher acquiring his longtime employer–and then Sinclair acquiring Fisher in these rabid M&A days.

Fisher acquired KMTR for $8.5 million late last year. Sinclair agreed to acquire Fisher in April.

Calbreath recently retired and did not have to stay mum on the pending acquisition.

Eugene Weekly has published his Facebook post on the state of local TV today, including the  KMTR “bloodbath” that he says saw dozens of jobs eliminated.

He writes:

Since I was never an employee of Fisher Broadcasting and am no longer interested in working in the TV News business, I can speak freely. If you have read the stories in the newspaper you read that no-one is able to comment on what just happened to them. It is a normal ploy by companies to hold severance packages and threat of negative reviews to future employers to keep people being fired to keep quiet. Many who has been let go from a big company for no reason based on their work has seen this. 

Calbreath goes off on Fisher, the FCC and Sinclair for their roles in the mass consolidation, and decrease in news voices, in local TV:

The lobbyist in Washington have done a good job of changing the laws over the last 30 years and now almost anything goes. The FCC is a joke in my opinion. They go berserk if you slip and say a four letter word by accident or have a wardrobe malfunction, but could care less if big communications companies eliminate any competition in their attempt to dominate the information we receive. As of today, Fisher controls three of the four news programs broadcasted in our market. Later this year an even bigger company Sinclare will own them. Sinclare (spelling?)owner are very similar to the owners of FOX news in my opinion, which is not very fair and balanced no matter what they say .

Calbreath says the only station not controlled by Fisher-Sinclair in the market is Chambers Communications-owned KEZI. (Fox affiliate KLSR is owned by California-Oregon Broadcasting out of Medford, Ore.)

He says:

They also are the last locally own TV station in our area, but for how long?

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.