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End of an era: KGO Radio lays off news staff

April 1, 2016

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Grumpy’s Pub was packed with enough journalists to staff its own newsroom Thursday.

Beer pints in hand, shoulders squared and somber, staffers from the nearby KGO Radio lamented lost jobs, and the lessening of a former radio news heavyweight.

At least 20 full-time staffers, and perhaps more, were laid off Thursday morning from KGO Radio and KFOG 104.5, a local rock station, by parent company Cumulus Radio.

The layoffs are a blow to the local news scene, as KGO is one of few remaining for-profit news radio stations in San Francisco.

“It’s just a really sad end,” said one former staffer, while sitting in Grumpy’s. None of the former employees wanted to be identified because it could impact their severance packages.

One anchor described reading the news on air that morning amid the layoffs, which were first reported by Rich Lieberman, a media blogger.

“We were trying to be happy and chipper,” this anchor said. All the while, sitting behind the microphone, they watched staffers leave one by one. “These pillars were falling around us.”

Though the departure of KGO legend Ronn Owens to famously conservative KSFO grabbed much of the media attention Thursday, many more were lost in the layoffs.

News anchor Jennifer Jones, sports anchor Rich Walcoff, business and tech reporter Jason Middleton, traffic reporter Mark Nieto, reporter Kristin Hanes, production director Mike Amatori, and KGO veteran anchor Jon Bristow were among the many KGO laid off Thursday.

In the end, the station shedded its entire full-time news team – what is rumored by employees to be a shift on the station to a “talk” format, pulling away from straight news… (more)

Layoffs are coming to town, to techies as well as newscasters.

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