CBS layoffs signal a financial squeeze on TV stations

What You Should Have Read, April 9, 2008

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CBS layoffs signal a financial squeeze on TV stations

Los Angeles Times reports that when veteran Los Angeles news anchors Harold Greene and Ann Martin were felled by a round of jobs cuts last week, they were in good company. At least 160 employees at CBS Corp.-owned TV stations in 13 cities were let go, including such seasoned broadcasters as prominent Chicago anchor Diann Burns, renowned Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel and longtime Minneapolis meteorologist Paul Douglas. The jettisoning of such experienced on-air talent exposed the weakening of the once-robust local station business, which historically has enjoyed some of the fattest profit margins in the media industry. Today, stations are feeling the same financial squeeze as their newspaper and network news brethren. An economic slowdown, combined with changes in news consumption patterns and the migration of advertisers to the Internet, have contributed to a lean start to a year that was supposed to benefit from a gush of political advertising.
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