CBS stations' news staffs thinned out

April 2, 2008 8:00:07 AM PDT
CBS-owned TV stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago are reducing their news staffs.

The cuts include two well-known anchors in Los Angeles, five on-air veterans in San Francisco and one of Chicago's highest-paid anchors.

About a dozen news staffers will depart KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV in Los Angeles, according to a person who works at one of the CBS-owned stations and requested anonymity because policy prohibits disclosing personnel matters.

The person told The Associated Press on Tuesday that longtime anchors Ann Martin and Harold Greene will leave when their contracts expire in May. Others, including reporters Jennifer Sabih and Jennifer Davis, were laid off Monday.

Technical staff was also trimmed, the person said.

A call seeking comment from Greene, Martin, Sabih and Davis was not immediately returned.

In San Francisco, KPIX-TV is letting go 14 newsroom employees, including anchor and reporter Rick Quan, and reporters Manny Ramos, Bill Schechner, Tony Russomano and John Lobertini, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

A KPIX-TV spokeswoman would not confirm the number being cut except for the five on-air staffers.

Layoffs extended beyond the newsroom to other divisions of both KPIX and KBCW-TV, a San Francisco-based CW affiliate, KPIX communications director Akilah Monifa told The Associated Press.

"It was our decision in these economic times to try to go forward and do the best as we could with our stations," said Monifa.

In Chicago, cost-cutting at WBBM-TV has claimed at least 18 jobs, including that of anchor Diann Burns, who earned $2 million a year, lead sportscaster Mark Malone, and Mary Ann Childers, an anchor-turned-health correspondent.

Joe Ahern, WBBM president and general manager, told the Chicago Tribune no department was exempt. He said cuts were in the "single-digit" percentage of the WBBM work force of more than 200.

"We have to rethink how we do business," Ahern told the newspaper.

Burns' agent and husband, Marc Watts, said the station did not renew her contract.