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Texas Cable News Drops Ad Sales, Halves Staff

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DALLAS Belo Corp.'s Texas Cable News channel is cutting more than half its staff and will no longer sell its own advertising, the company said.

TXCN (Channel 38) is dropping all of its original programming except weather reports, TXCN president and general manager Jamie Aitken said. Belo television stations will provide programming after TXCN eliminates 45 of 75 positions, the company said.

Those losing their jobs include on-air anchors, sports staff, sales and creative employees, as well as Aitken and news director Steve Ackerman, the company said.

By Feb. 1, the 45 staff positions will be eliminated and the news operation will rely on subscriber fees exclusively, the company said.

TXCN began broadcasting in January 1999, combining its own newscasts with stories picked up from Belo stations in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Texas, and San Antonio.

TXCN struggled in key Texas markets and continued to post losses, the company said.

Dallas-based Belo owns The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV (Channel 8), three other newspapers and 18 television stations.