WFLA-TV Cuts News, KTLA-TV Expands It

Both stations struggle with parent company financial woes
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TAMPA, FLA.and LOS ANGELES: WFLA-TV has canceled its 11 a.m. newscast and won’t be producing a 10 p.m. newscast for Sinclair’s MyTV affiliate WTTA-TV as of April 30, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports. WFLA is the NBC affiliate in Tampa owned by Media General (NYSE: MEG) of Richmond, Va. The cancellations come as a ripple effect of Media General closing down several news bureaus in the area that also feed The Tampa Tribune.

Media General, which posted a net loss of nearly $632 million for 2008, is belt-tightening across the board. It shuttered its 30-year-old Washington, D.C. news bureau March 27. At least 130 jobs were eliminated across the company’s 19 TV stations last month. The company also imposed mandatory furloughs, cut 401k contributions and shifted to a geographic rather than a platform-based organization structure.

MEG was reported to have $750 million in debt at the end of 2008, compared to $898 million at the start.

Another TV station across the continent is taking the opposite tack with news. KTLA-TV, the CW in L.A. owned by Tribune, is expanding its news operations to eight hours per week, The Los Angeles Times, also a Trib property, reports. The station launched a 4:30 a.m. newscast April 1; it will segue into the station’s 5 a.m. newscast. The idea is to capture commuters getting up at oh-dark-thirty to get to work. Another one-hour, 1 p.m. newscast focusing on money and employment, is on deck. A 6:30 p.m. weekday newscast was added in January. 

Tribune properties across the country have undergone operational consolidations and cuts as the parent company struggles to reorganize in bankruptcy.