KCAL pinkslipped four on-air news personalities Thursday, dumping environmental reporter Dennis Farrier, chief sports anchor Gary Cruz, consumer reporter Bill Gephardt and general assignment reporter Barbara Matt. Station sources said longtime news anchor/reporter David Jackson also ready to be dismissed.
They represent the first familiar news faces to get the boot in the station’s ownership transfer to Young Broadcasting.
That transfer from Disney to Young became official Nov. 22.
In addition, station news director Bob Henry, whose departure had been confirmed a few weeks ago, cleared out his office on Thursday before delivering an emotional speech to the staff on what would be his last day.
Jackson, who joined the station in 1989, has been one of KCAL’s stars, anchoring the station’s “Prime 9 News” primetime block. His contract, due to expire at year’s end, reportedly is not being renewed. He has been earning about $600,000 a year.
As of Thursday evening, Jackson said that the other four staffers had been informed of their status, but he has been assured by station execs that his ultimate fate has yet to be decided.
“I have been told nothing official,” Jackson said. “But if it’s true, I’ve had a great run here.” Thursday night, he was preparing to go on the air for his regular anchor shift.
Farrier, a six-year KCAL vet, was expected to work his final shift today.
Cruz has been with KCAL for seven years, as has Gephardt. Both reportedly have time yet to run on their station contracts and will likely be bought out rather than stick with the station in a lesser capacity. Matt has been with the station for 2-1/2 years.
It remained uncertain Thursday if any other layoffs are planned. No KCAL or Young officials were available for comment.