Change is in the air and on the air at the upstart newser 101.9/WEMP. FishbowlNY has learned that veteran broadcaster Sara Lee Kessler has left the station. Kessler, best known for her long-running stint as WWOR/Channel 9 anchor, had been a reporter for WEMP since its inception in August.
One source tells FishbowlNY that Kessler is among several staffers that may be let go due to “outs” in their contracts as Merlin Media is now in a cutback mode.
However, another person with knowledge of the situation was not familiar with any personnel changes, other than Kessler. Additionally, that person could not confirm if Kessler left on her own volition or was squeezed out.
There’s been turmoil at WEMP since signing on last summer. The station has struggled mightily to find an audience, which led to the ouster of VP of programming Liz Aiello earlier this year and COO Walter Sabo in December.
Last week, Randy Michaels and Merlin began the march toward the future, naming Eric Seidel interim program director.
WEMP inched ahead in the January Arbitron ratings to a .7.
Update: FishbowlNY has confirmed that evening anchor Maureen Langan and reporter Bob Brown have also left the station.