Tuesday, February 17, 2015

KRON Mulls The Future; Asks Staff How To Make More/Save More Money; 'Document Gear Issues'

 Not long ago, new KRON GM, Ashley Gold Messina sent an inner-office e-mail to staff REQUIRING everyone to submit at least 3 ideas of how to make more, or save more money. 

A little unusual but given KRON's meager-means status, nothing out of the ordinary.

Then, according to a few of my insiders, there was water cooler talk among staff  "If we don't start making more money they're going to clean house --sell the station." Nobody, of course, spoke on the record.

Expensive consultants met with show producers last week. There was much discussion involving the future at the local independent station. It was not exactly a Mary Poppins session, according to one staffer.

Making matters more intense, after years of neglect, management is asking all VJs to document any and all gear issues. Which lead some people to conclude the following:

Why the sudden interest? According to one individual: "I think they're taking inventory to ready for appraisal." Which can only add to future speculation. We're monitoring closely and will try to dig deeper.

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  1. Disney/ABC only owns one station in the market, KRON is now co-located in the ABC Broadcast Center, and KRON's owners would dearly like to turn a quick profit on their investment in the Little Engine That (Barely) Could. You don't need to be a genius to add 2 plus 2 and get "ABC/KRON". Especially since CBS and FOX are already maxed out with two TV stations each.

    1. Dude, that made no sense.

      Go learn some broadcast law.

  2. Here are my 3 ideas to save money for KRON:

    1. Get rid of Daria Folsom
    2. Get rid of Aeron Pero
    3. and finally, get rid of Gary Radnich

    That would keep KRON floating for at least a year.

    1. It's a shame to see how badly KRON has fallen. It was without a doubt one of the best local TV newsrooms in the country. It's like seeing the Chronicle become the Gilroy Dispatch.

    2. Agreed! You should offer your consulting services and make a pretty penny :)

    3. @4:43 I would offer my service to KRON, but they would give me $0.00 in return.

    4. How are they suppose to stay afloat if you keep dumping the flotation devices overboard. Darya, Jackie.. what Erika next?

  3. Is Annie Andersen still reporting there?

  4. regular working stiffFebruary 17, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    Dear Rich Lieberman,

    Why are you so blatantly contemptuous about a business organization trying to save money and improve profitability? Is there something wrong with that. Most of us who work understand that reality.

  5. The only issue is return on investment for Media General. This is now their biggest market station, their flagship. The majority of the rest of their stations are in far smaller communities. Imagine the discussions going on at those small market shops.

    The corporate brass has already dumped the Van Ness building to help pay for the multi-milion $ group acquisition, and they want to see profits for their investors. Period. Call it greed, or call it smart business. KRON is just another ledger item for their corporate bean-counters, nothing more.

    This is also a non-financial-gift year for broadcast properties: Almost no political money, no major sports events and not much else to help any station with a MyNetwork affiliation. If the news ops are being tapped for help, imagine how bad it must be to try and sell any other daypart on that channel, with so many unwatchable programs. Even the paid-for programs are most likely getting on their air for just a few dollars more than normalized revenue in any of the dayparts they occupy.

    Most of us on the outside don't know exactly what the talent contracts contain, and how much cash Media General is obligated to continue to pay out to any of their higher-priced faces. But I guarantee that you will see the changes as soon as any contract windows become open for serious reductions.

    As a profit-making business unit, corporate officers have a fixed profit target they want from the entire group. Given that there are so many smaller sized stations with HD transmitters and studio operations that pretty much cost about the same to run each day, it's a no-brainer that KRON has to pull its financial weight or see further cost reductions.

    There are several stations across the country with Shared Services Agreements that make it far less complicated, and far less costly, to run their operations. They simply pay a fixed fee, plus a portion of ad revenue (with up/down adjustments for ratings). So, barring any sort of FCC market percentage concerns, it would be no stretch for Media General to pay ABC Television Group a fixed annual rate for 5-10 year deal to fill all their newscast times. Then it would be up to ABC Television Group to decide if they want any of the KRON personnel (talent and behind scenes employees).

    Imagine how bad it must be for Media General brass, watching broadcast viewing disappear at the rate it has, and will continue to do so. If it's so bad around the rest of the country, imagine how much worse it is in the SFO/SJO market which already has one of the LOWEST viewing rates in America.

    Bottom line? The Bottom Line!

  6. When you have a "Sports Director" who brags he's paid enough to lease a Bentley,but not enough to attend a single Giants World Series game to do a report for KRON?, something's wrong.
    And make him work the 5 o clock news too.
    Third,he could wear a cap with a sponsor logo on it doing the sports. Or a NASCAR decal suit. For what he's paid,makes sense.
    Finally? On the mentioned Bentley? A big KRON 4 wrap on it...with lightening bolts coming off the antennae and G-RAD covering the hood and roof. Do the same to Pam Moore's Mercedes. I hear its an old one anyways. Advertising pays.
    You can imagine what Darya's Beemer would have....

  7. 1. Sell Vitamins and 'health potions' like the radio station in Santa Cruz
    2. Do the news in black and white
    3. Replace Radnich with someone who enjoys sports.

  8. If you had inside info/ideas on turning around the station, why would you give it to the people who have run it into the ground?

  9. KRON could set up a "GoFundMe" website for itself.

    Or KRON could register itself as one of "Jerry's Kids" and hope for a donation.

    1. LOL!! And I rarely type that.

  10. Run Even MORE commercials during the Morning News!!

  11. I think your take on happenings at KRON is incorrect. The new GM asked everyone for suggestions to make the station better.. not for saving money. The crews are being asked to document their gear to fix any equipment issues, not for inventory. And the consultants seemed to be very helpful in improving the newscasts. KRON appears to headed in the exact opposite direction of what you intimated in your story.

  12. Greetings from the East, Detroit, that is:

    MG & LIN recently merged. LIN tried to play chicken with CBS in Indianapolis last year (right before the merger), and lost the CBS affiliation for WISH-TV. WISH-TV went to CW on 1/1/2015 after 57 years with CBS. They took a $100 million write down on the merger price due to that corporate stupidity. Sound familiar to you folks by the bay? History repeating itself in a different place?

    The only problem with the ABC theory is that ABC has avoided buying 2nd stations in its O&O markets. CBS, Fox & NBC love to double up. Rumor has had it that Disney wants out of traditional broadcasting anyway; the numbers at ESPN are so much better...

    The upcoming spectrum auctions make that little slice of UHF TV band (channel 38, which KRON-TV transmits on) more intriguing than a duopoly. If MG can hold KRON-TV with duct tape & chicken wire, they probably could fetch a good price at the auction.

  13. Once again Lieberman you have no clue what you're talking about...

  14. While Disney may not be inclined to create duopolies, it might go the way of KABC in Los Angeles, which last year contracted to produce news for small indie KDOC in Orange County. The ABC affiliate's newscasts run at 7 pm. KGO could do the same thing I would think. The stations are already in the same building. But what would make this difficult is the question of what would become of KRON's staff. I doubt Radnich, Moore et al would join KGO.