Major Layoffs at CBS O&Os

Heavy layoffs are being reported at the CBS owned-and-operated stations, including 30 staffers at WBZ Boston, 17 at WBBM Chicago, 14 at KPIX San Francisco and about one-dozen at KCBS Los Angeles.

A CBS O&O spokesperson declined to comment on the layoffs.

WBZ appears to have been hit hardest; the Boston Herald said the layoffs were across the board, “hitting the newsroom, the Web unit, sales, the engineering department and promotions. Some employees were swiftly escorted out the door by security, sources said.” WBZ has not yet returned calls for comment.

WBBM’s cuts included anchor Diann Burns, whom the Chicago Sun-Times called a “cornerstone” of a station rebuild. Other talent to be let go included sports anchor Mark Malone and reporters Mary Ann Childers, Katie McCall and Rafael Romo, the Sun-Times reported.

Among KPIX’s casualties were veteran reporters Bill Schechner and Manny Ramos, whom the San Francisco Chronicle called “Bay-area icons.” Ramos, who had been at KPIX for 28 years, told the Chronicle, "When I walked in, they told me it was going to be a bad day in the newsroom. Then they told me it was going to be a bad day for me, too."

KPIX has made digital a focus, hiring full-time blogger Brittney Gilbert to manage a blog aggregator that launched earlier this year. The station was fourth in 2006 revenue in the San Francisco DMA, according to BIA Financial Networks.

KPIX did not respond to requests for comment at press time.

WCBS New York’s layoffs included veteran correspondents Scott Weinberger and Andrew Kirtzman, according to published reports. The station is also shelving its Sports Sunday program, the New York Daily News reported.

Also hit were KCNC Denver and KOVR Sacramento, Calif., and perhaps others. CBS owns 29 stations, including 16 CBS affiliates and nine CW outlets.

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.