KGO will spin the departure of longtime, respected anchor Carolyn Johnson as finding a new opportunity. Too bad it isn't true.
In fact, Johnson, who is leaving 900 Front to go to an unknown market left because of money, or in KGO's case, an across-the-board pay cutback that accelerated her decision weeks ago to pursue other outlets.
"KGO told all their talent they would need to take a cut in pay. So she, (Johnson, who's been at the station since 1998), walked on them and is taking another job with bigger pay out of the market", said a source familiar with the move.
Make no mistake--this is a major setback for KGO. Johnson, along with Dan Ashley, provided a star-power duo of local anchor status and her leaving is another blow in a news operation beset with morale issues.
Moreover, it's especially damaging to mercurial News Director, Tracey Watkowski who announced Johnson's decision to the newsroom on Friday. A gasp erupted after staffers heard the news.
This was not Carolyn seeking to look for new opportunities. She's a Stanford grad, loves the Bay Area and turned down many job offers in the past. Her business-like, no-nonsense delivery was so good she was almost robotic. Johnson and Ashley provided KGO with a dynamic that made for a compelling news team.
That's now out the door. And in this case, it was ALL about the money. The news that management is about to embark on pay cuts comes right before an important sweeps period. I'm sure that will fire up the troops.
*Follow me on Twitter