Thursday, December 6, 2012

King was Forced Out; CBS '08 Directive was First Handwriting on Wall; Rosenheim in Control at PIX; The Inside Story

Dana King's departure from KPIX actually has been in the mix for the better part of a month as station brass had met behind closed doors to work out an amiable settlement for her and in essence work out a move to finally make the decision.

That decision actually began in earnest in 2008. CBS corporate and its O and O, (owned and operated stations), sent a directive to KPIX management to "immediately cut a million dollars from the budget." Upon receiving that directive, News Director Dan Rosenheim wanted to fire King, but that move was nixed by then GM, Ron Longinottti.

A source close to the station told me that Longinotti felt that King "was the 'face of Channel 5--the 'public image and doing that would alienate not only King loyalists and viewers, but the staff in the newsroom too." The source requested anonymity due to the nature of the story.

Keep in mind that '08 was a sensitive and grueling time at 855 Battery, (KPIX headquarters); senior reporters John Lobertini, Bill Schechner, and anchor, Rick Quan, were all part of a group of air talent let go amid major budget cuts. Two of the reporters, (Lobertini and Schechner) filed age-discrimination lawsuits that were eventually thrown out but are still under appeal.

The move to oust King was a joint decision by both Rosenheim and Bruno Cohen, the GM who took over for the recently-fired Longinotti. King's $800K salary was reason #1; today's new local TV news model, even in major markets like the Bay Area, has been lowering the boom on highly-compensated anchors and King was a part of that club.

Her celebrated hair-style look that revealed major grey streaks was not a factor in the dismissal. It all bottomed on money. The source speculated that King was told her work was appreciated but that the financials were out of the current budget plan. The source added that King probably got a "very generous" settlement. "Look, she really is enamoured with art and sculpture--I'm sure she's OK with what's transpired."

I asked King, via text, for comment on this story. She responded: "I'm disappointed in what you've written thus far.--...the station can take some Benjamin's and hire more talented reporters...then I will have done a good thing for 'myself  and the station. It's a win win. There is no loser here."

That might be all well and good, but ultimately it was the station mangers that made this decision, not King. And money was the major factor. King disputed my reporting of her salary even though a source close to PIX confirmed it and it was noted in a 2008 legal brief.

The news of King's leaving left the Channel 5 newsroom in shock. A newsroom that is reportedly aghast over the abundance of news managers over reporters. One of those reporters, who requested anonymity, said it more overtly: "We have eight or nine managers and that's a farce--sometimes we have only two reporters in the field and nine managers!"

A major caveat to the story: ND Rosenheim is the unequivocal power player inside the newsroom. Below Cohen for sure, but definitely calling the shots. There was a time, after Longinotti's ouster, that Cohen would fire Rosenhein, but it hasn't happened and this move only reinforces his influence at PIX. At least for now.

King asked me to plug her website: http://www.danakingart.com

*RICH LIEBERMAN 415 MEDIA EXCLUSIVE

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37 comments:

  1. See? If Christine had read my post to learn instead of looking for spelling...wow,Her station in life posting as spelling police. I must have hit a media nerve.
    Again-lol.
    S

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    1. your premise was that women over sixty couldn't be allowed to anchor the news. You believe you are so full of knowledge that we all could learn from,right?
      Enamored of your ability to know so much,you missed the point of my post, that the most watched broadcast newscast in the United States is anchored by a 65 year old woman. Nerve this.
      I predict Dana King will be much happier and infinitely more fulfilled in this next phase of her very talented life.

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    2. Christine: You also missed the point. Women anchors for local news vs national news. Big difference.

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    3. so 1:38, your view is that San Francisco is more provincial than the country as a whole? really? i disagree.

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    4. 138 is on the right road. And you Christine I see is not only to admit you didn't get it,but then to continue your bad logic with basically agreeing that Bruno was right so Dana should enjoy not having a 800,000 income for another decade. She can play with clay. A real even Steven's deal.
      138 got it..Few woman past 50 on local news (Go Cheryl ch7) and almost as bad nationally.
      And will you quit with the spelling police as a debate? I get that from knuckleheads on sports boards..and like you they misspell in putting down my bad typing/spelling. You didn't capitalize "Your".

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    5. Christine, you are dealing with local troll Stan. He generally infests local sports themed blogs, at least those on which he hasn't been banned because of excessive, annoying comments.

      His major obsession is Gary Radnich hatred, but he delves into other areas as well. Typically he claims that he's right about something and everyone else is wrong. If anyone disagrees with him, he gives some decipherable, twisted explanation that "proves" he's correct.

      His grammar and spelling are terrible. But if you ever correct him, you're the spelling police or as Stan puts it "your the spelling police."

      On the other sites, people generally ignore him.

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    6. What you are dealing in 412 is another of those knuckleheads who only can say I spelled it wrong when I predicted the Giants run to the world series. Lowell Cohn,Rich and Steven Berman sure don't think I'm like that angry and jealous 412 man.
      What I see in 412 is the usual "Bush was a war hero and Kerry the Coward spin".
      I have a great track record..including saying Dana was pushed off the cliff-as you see. Nothing twisted here.
      Only in the REPUBS like 412's, mind. As usual.

      And,amazing huh, that I mentioned both the local sportheads and your correction!.And here they are. I was right to a tee.

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    7. I let that 412 guy off too easy now that I read it. He,is another jealous of me. They wish they could do what I do,write what I write,and have the guts to say it. But they can't and don't.
      This Dana King is the tip of the iceberg of how many times I saw through the bull.

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    8. @6:07 has "the guts to say it" ANONYMOUSLY . LOL!

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    9. 1206 You dufus. You know who it is. What do you want,my home address so I can have a nutjob like you at my doorway?

      And try not to think about me at midnight. That's creepy.

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    10. There letting go of John Kessler in the morning moved me to KRON and I guess now this will do it for the evening news! Bye

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  2. i love Dana King! BUT first thing? get a real website that is easy to read and shows a larger selection from her body of work. she is so loved here in SF that it may be hard for her to get a true critical reading on the quality of her work here or in other places in which her personality has preceded her work, but that's quite a nice problem to have :)

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  3. BANG did a nice PR for King about her leaving to be an arteest as it went. Not a wiff of money or business talk.
    And why papers are losing readers to blogs and the internet.

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  4. All one has to do is read the daily trades to see that for some time now stations have been shedding their high priced talent. I sure we'll see some major changes coming to the two top markets soon.

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  5. It is articles like this that go from "just a blog entry" to some solid journalism. Thanks for that.

    Sounds like King would rather fall on her sword with her comments about hiring more reporters. That makes me like her even more. But the art? Now I really am a fan.

    Assuming she saved some of that anchor money, she is free to follow her artistic passion full time if she cares to. As a fellow artist, that sounds like a wonderful situation. I like her charcoals although some look like studies of old masters but her sculpture is wonderful. Quality figurative works are right in my wheelhouse. Thanks for the website link.

    If we get less Dana King the Journalist and more Dana King the Artist, that isn't such a bad trade off.

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  6. Yo Rich..you got the $ figure right but clearly you know nothing about Battlin' Bruno Cohen. The ONLY "player" in Bruno's shop..is Bruno. Dandy Dan sucked up to the new GM by advocating King's execution..probably told Bruno he wanted to do it long ago.
    But if I were Dandy Dan, I'd be bringing some empty boxes to work because he's gonna need 'em when he empties his office..and that's coming sooner than he thinks.

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  7. Again Rich is disputing a departing person's explanation of why he/she is leaving, see Stan Burford.

    Rich can write what ever he pleases but speculation and hearsay shouldn't be confused with facts.

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    1. This just in: Adenoids

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  8. You write she was "ousted"?
    She even disputes that - why stir up gossip over simple business decisions. This is the reality of our business, nothing more.

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    1. I agree, a person who is "ousted" is never put on the air again...she is still on the air as of last night.

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  9. Rich has nothing better to do than be the gossip of the Bay Area.
    Hey Rich why don't you write more bitter attacks on Gary Radnich or Ronn Owens?
    Did they threathen you with another law suit?

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  10. Look,for years Dana pushed her motorcycle passion. But to say she left a easy job for near 1 million bucks a year for that isn't very credible- I get that. So, "My art" sounds like a fairy tale ending. But it isn't true..and doesn't help others in the industry to make up a story.
    The truth always plays out best.

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  11. I'll be her Swayze if she'll be my Moore...
    Love you Dana!!

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    Replies
    1. She's a sculptor, not a potter.

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  12. No big surprise that KPIX is cutting more from its news department.
    The slow decline of solid broadcast journalism in radio and TV has been apparent for some time. These big mega-companies are only interested in profit, and keeping their shareholders happy. They could care less about public service. Their rationale for making the cuts is that " our sales revenue is down, viewership or listenership is down, so we have to cut costs."

    Well, keep doing that and eventually you'll have ZERO audience and the American public will have a even less healthy free press. This is one of the big problems in our country today, as Americans are less informed because they have fewer credible, reliable, professional reporters out there covering the important stories. Our free press is slowly being strangled to death by the interests of big business and our society is the poorer for it!

    It's truly un-American and shameful but so few people are even making any noise about it, that it is absolutely astonishing. It's as if this country has fallen asleep at the wheel. No wonder we're no longer the great country that we used to be!

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    1. You are wrong! We have Rush, Hanity and to a lesser extent Susspool and Montemanure to inform us, guide us and educate us.

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    2. And don't forget, we still have Karel. Talk about management with screws loose.

      Either that, or he has incriminating pictures. I'm just betting he does. A mouth made for that giant sucking sound to be sure.

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  13. A business decision. It was about business. Business is a dirty word. Good people have been screwed because of the word business. Someday, the jerks who made this move may be subjected to a business decision, too. Lets not forget how the media is going to hell because of business. You selfish bastards -- the VC people -- you are ruining this country. You have no conscience. Pigs.

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  14. Stations have been shedding their high priced talent but their ratings go along with the shedding as well as their earnings.

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  15. Keep in mind that after several years of trying, and with the #1 prime time schedule, Bruno Cohen was unable to move Chicago's WBBM from third place in news. Cohen even brought back legendary anchor team Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson from retirement to anchor the 6 p.m. news, which didn't make a difference after a brief increase in ratings. (Jacobson plans to retire again in a few months.)

    Cutting costs is the easiest thing to do in a newsroom (or any business.) What really counts is whether the KPIX team can improve the station's ratings. Based on past experience, I suspect that they can't.

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  16. Let's be honest. No one watches local news! NO ONE. I get my news on-line when I want. They could put an egg at the desk and run the ticker, the ratings would be the same.

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    1. If you want local breaking news online, there's two sources, SFGate and BANG (Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, Marin IJ). When there's breaking news, TV has an advantage, with helicopters and news vans that can get to the scene of a breaking news story faster than a reporter from the Chronicle or BANG. A TV reporter can get to the scene and start reporting immediately, whereas an online reporter has to get to the scene, find out what's happening and write the story. If the story is someplace like near the Richmond Point oil refineries where there is little to no wireless internet service, an online reporter has to leave the scene to file...news crews can broadcast from anywhere.

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  17. Agreed no one watchs local news. The industry has been on a downward trajectory for a decade. The problem isn't high priced talent it's story selection. Local news broadcasts the irrelevant night after night. I worked in tv newsrooms and the quality of people producing the shows has steadily declined. Now you get bad writing and hyped stories that mean nothing. Just watch KRON to see the future.

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  18. No one watches local news? Thats BS!! Then I must be one of those who do! I just watched CBS5 news and watched the sign off with a tribute to Dana. Glad I watch the news

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  19. Amazing. Good talent like Dana King sent packing but mediocre talent like Darya Folsom at KRON is still there. Go figure.

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  20. news is now all happy talk...has been that way for decades

    dont have an issue with cutbacks....however.....

    THE CEO'S ARE STILL MAKING BUCK....LOTS OF BUCK

    AS IN, NOT ONE HAS FELT ANY PAIN ON THEIR BOTTOM LINE

    NOW HOW CAN THAT BE IF THERE ARE CUTS ACROSS THE BOARD THAT COST PEOPLE THEIR JOBS, HOMES AND LIVES???????????

    REPEAL THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT...BRING COMPETITION AND JOBS BACK

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  21. Hey 9:36 pm...I couldn't agree with you more! I just wish that so many Americans weren't 'asleep at the wheel.' In a democracy, citizens are supposed to be more involved, that's why it's called a
    DEMOCRACY.

    Evidently, we have a lot of slothful, uneducated people out there who would rather hunker down in front of their HD TVs with their chips and beer and watch the junk food for the mind that TV networks and stations foist everyday, while putting their brains on hold. Sad!

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