Sinclair-owned NBC affiliate WNWO announced Tuesday it would outsource its news production to the Sinclair station in South Bend, Indiana, resulting in layoffs for WNWO news staff.
“We’ll be hubbing our news product to South Bend, Indiana,” a source told the Toledo Blade. “They’re planning to keep a news coverage crew present here, possibly 11 people.”
The change is expected to go into effect early next year. The Blade reports employees were called to an 8:30 a.m. staff meeting and informed of the decision:
Employees have been braced for the announcement for several weeks.
“We all speculated that it was just budget [related] or that it could be a new news director. It wasn’t until we walked in for the meeting this morning and saw people from corporate that we knew this isn’t just something usual.”
The source added, “The news product we are producing, it will not exist for the long term and we are very sad about that.”
In 2014, Sinclair installed new managers at WNWO, with newly-named general manager John Nizamis saying he was confident the station would climb in the ratings–and he hoped his news staff would reflect a new confidence. “I’m trying to establish a new morale. I want them to walk with a new swagger. We want to be relevant. This is a good product in a good market.”
Nizamis now runs WSBT in South Bend, the station set to provide news programming for WNWO.