Buffalo Station Losing Two Reporters

By Kevin Eck 

drantch kingston_wivbBuffalo CBS affiliate WIVB will soon see the departure of two of its reporters.

Yesterday, The Buffalo News reported Ed Drantch will be leaving the LIN-owned station next month to work at cross-town rival ABC affiliate WKBW.

Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse said Drantch’s Channel 4 contract had expired. He added that Channel 4 had the right to match Channel 7’s offer and declined.

Today, The News said Rachel Kingston is getting out of broadcasting to work at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Kingston wrote on her facebook page., “Yes, it is true. My time at Channel 4 – and in news/broadcasting altogether – is drawing to a close.” She added, “While I am leaving journalism, I’m not leaving my native and dearly-loved Western New York.”

Drantch’s defection, along with other departures at the station led Buffalo News TV Critic Alan Pergament to speculate WIVB GM Rene LaSpina’s belt tightening may be behind the moves.

LaSpina has recently implemented several cost-cutting moves, with the most visible recently the departure of medical reporter Dr. Peter Ostrow after more than 25 years working part-time at the station.

In addition, LaSpina declined to buy a table for staffers last week at the dinner where Channel 4 anchor Don Postles entered the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She sat at a table with employees of WBBZ, the local independent station rather than with staffers of her own station.

Sources speculate that the cuts might be fueled by the drop in the stock prices of LIN Media and Media General, which reached a $1.6 billion merger agreement earlier this year, and because LIN’s station in Indianapolis has lost its CBS affiliation. As of Wednesday, the stock price of LIN Media was $22.70, down from a 52-week high of $29.24. The stock price of Media General was $13.97 Wednesday, down from a 52-week high of $23.97.

Drantch posted about his move on twitter.