Executives at KFWB-AM (980) handed out pinks slips Friday to 14 staff members as the CBS Corp.-owned radio station prepares to switch from an all-news format to a news talk one.
Christopher de Haan, the national director of communications for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which represents 35 of the station’s full- and part-time employees, said the union was notified this morning of the 14 layoffs.
De Haan added that the union was notified earlier in the week of one layoff, bringing the total number of laid off staff members to 15.
“I tried to be with our program director and our other people today when we gave them the news,” said Ed Krampf, a CBS Radio senior vice president and market manager for Los Angeles, “and the people we have spoken with appear to appreciate the personal respect and consideration we have tried to show them.”
Krampf declined to comment on whether more layoffs are scheduled to take place.
When KFWB announced Aug. 10 that it was flipping formats Sept. 8, staff members suspected that layoffs would follow.
That’s because the station’s new format will center on programming by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a well-known radio personality who focuses on parenting and relationship issues. It will also broadcast political commentators Laura Ingraham and Philadelphia-based Michael Smerconish.
The switch in format is part of CBS’ plan to boost listener share and further differentiate KFWB from its all news sister station, CBS-owned KNX-AM (1070). Executives announced in February that KFWB’s coverage would focus on the entertainment industry, but the change didn’t increase ratings. KFWB had a 1.3 percent listener share in June, flat from previous months. The station tied for 27th in the L.A. market.
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