Earlier, we reported about WAGT’s transition from a Schurz-owned station with a local news staff to a Gray TV station without one after it began simulcasting the newscasts of Gray’s CBS affiliate WRDW this morning.
In a statement, Gray said its purchase of Schurz Communications ended a five-year agreement between Media General-owned Augusta, Ga., ABC affiliate WJBF and WAGT.
“We wish we could have continued the existing newscast on WAGT26,” said WRDW GM, John Ray. “However, WJBF’s refusal to work out a smooth transition of personnel and contractual restrictions WJBF put in place for the WAGT26 news talent force us to create a new team for WAGT26. Until then, WAGT26 will simulcast a co-branded newscast from WRDW.”
Sources tell TVSpy the changes have pushed the WAGT news staff out of their jobs.
“We notified WJBF of the impending sale and likely FCC conditions in the middle of September 2015,” said Gray. “Then and countless times thereafter, we continually reached out to WJBF and its corporate owners to begin a discussion on how we could cooperate to ensure a smooth transition for the station’s operations and employees. Unfortunately, WJBF and its corporate owners refused to agree to a smooth transition of personnel and indeed, WJBF has restricted the anchors and reporters who appeared on WAGT26’s newscasts from remaining with the station after the sale.”
When asked about being blamed for the job losses, a Media General spokesperson told TVSpy, “We prefer not to comment on matters that are the subject of pending litigation.”