Tough Times in TV

The on-air staff at KSTP will have to learn how to comb their own hair.

I missed this last week in Shoptalk but KSTP in Minneapolis began a series of job reductions including the station’ hair and makeup person. I would have loved to watched the next broadcast to see the results.

Of course, the layoffs didn’t stop there. The station also handed pink slips to other behind-the-camera staff such as producers and photographers.

I’m not surprised at the makeup and hair specialist job loss. Minneapolis is a big market but how many managers could seriously consider keeping someone on the payroll who fixes someone’s hair? But is this part of Terry Heaton’s prediction on the future of local tv news staffs?

KSTP’s gm says the layoffs address “the business side of our station.” KSTP was the only Twin Cities station to add viewers to it’s 10pm newscast. Something is going wrong here and in other markets. Have the advertising rates stations can charge not rebounded? Are they seeing that stations can’t charge what they used to charge because people are going somewhere else for their news? Is this among the first of the big layoffs at tv stations in 2005? Will it rebound? We’ll see.

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