Bloodletting at CBS 3 Eyewitness News on Wednesday.
As part of a national round of layoffs, the local station located on Spring Garden Street shed about a dozen newsroom and production jobs, with a number of anchors and reporters included.
Here’s the list I was able to cobble together via various sources:
- sports anchor Lesley Van Arsdall
- morning traffic anchor Chandler Lutz
- reporter/anchor Chantee Lans
- reporter Cleve Bryan
- reporter Crystal Cranmore
- the guy who oversaw broadcast operations and engineering
- a photographer
- an assignment editor/planner
- two floor directors
- a third floor director and production guy
- a writer who had been there for some time
- a couple of per diem writers (I’m not sure how this even happens, since per diem workers are inherently cost-controlled because their hours are scheduled by a manager. Maybe they just didn’t need them.)
The layoffs are part of a general restructuring spurred by the CBS and Viacom merger, which was made public last August and finalized in December. Throw in a little bit of COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s the perfect formula to shed jobs and with a couple of built-in excuses.
“We are restructuring various operations at CBS as part of our ongoing integration with Viacom, and to adapt to changes in our business, including those related to COVID-19.”
KDKA is a great station, but CBS 3 stinks and has been treading water for some time now, stuck mostly in 3rd/4th place behind Action News and NBC 10, with the occasional foray up to #2 in some time slots. Truly, it’s not the fault of anybody working in Philadelphia; it’s more about New York-based management really dropping the ball over the years while micro-managing and failing to provide the necessary resources to be competitive with channels 6 and 10. The station is a shell of its former self, operating on a shoe-string budget with a skeleton crew of people just trying to put an acceptable product on television while corporate New York weirdos focus on things that really don’t matter, like microphone flags and what color wrap dress the female talent should be wearing.
Said one source on Tuesday night:
“It’s real bad. It’s been bad before, but never like this.”
Not sure how many people pay attention to TV ratings, but CBS came very close to toppling Action News about 11-12 years ago, when Alycia Lane and Larry Mendte were anchoring. This was before Larry hacked her emails and also before Alycia decided to punch a cop in the face after reportedly calling her a “fucking d***.”
Even after that debacle, it was a great place to work. You had respected veterans like Walt Hunter, Pat Ciarrocchi, Kathy Orr, Susan Barnett, Chris May, Carol Erickson, Bob Kelly, and Beasley Reece in the house. Now Ukee Washington is the last man standing because everybody else retired, quit, was fired unexpectedly, or joined FOX 29 instead. In addition, KYW News Radio decided to dump channel 3 to partner with NBC instead after the station was sold to Entercom. Now the cavernous sixth floor newsroom on Spring Garden Street, that KYW used to share with CBS, is basically empty.
The bummer is that there are a lot of fantastic people still working at channel 3, and they’re in an impossible situation. There’s not enough staff, not enough resources, and not enough shit-giving at the corporate level, which means they’re gonna be fighting an uphill battle to catch 6 and 10 until the New York suits decide to care about news again.
Now here’s Lauren Casey with the weather.
Per source, some of the folks who were laid off weren’t even told in person. They apparently worked a full shift, went home, and then were called and told they were being let go. Security guards were given a list of people no longer allowed in the building.