KEYE evening anchor Ron Oliveira will be leaving the Austin CBS affiliate Friday after station management declined to renew his contract, according to Austin360.
“I was informed that the corporate office in Baltimore decided not to renew my contract,” Oliveira said. “No reason was given. It took me by total surprise. I’m heartbroken because I love what I do.”
While Oliveira told Austin360 KEYE could take first place at 10:00 p.m. this sweeps period, weak ratings at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. news have plagued the station for years, he said, because of a weak afternoon lead in.
Recent departures from the Austin station include chief meteorologist Troy Kimmel, who left in December because of a difference in philosophy with station owner Sinclair Broadcasting over weather coverage, reporter Jason Wheeler who left for WFAA in Dallas and news director Suzanne Black who resigned last July. Sinclair purchased KEYE in January 2012.
“I’m greatly disappointed in hearing that KEYE is letting Ron go,” Kimmel told Austin360. “Simply put, I don’t think you can replace Ron. As always, I wish all my colleagues at KEYE well. In this case, though, I wonder if Sinclair Broadcast Group realizes the mistake they’re making.”
Oliveira said he was unsure of where he would go next, “I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting this when I was told a week and a half ago, so I don’t have a plan. But maybe it’s God’s plan. A year ago, I had a serious heart scare. One of my major arteries was 90 percent blocked, but it was caught in time and I had emergency surgery. Maybe this is a sign to slow down and take it a little easier. That’s hard for me, though. I love to work. Plus my third child is in college and I have a fourth one still to go. I’ll probably be working until I’m 85!”
According to his station bio, Oliveira started his career as an anchor at KGBT in Harlingen, TX, in 1977. He began working in Austin in 1980 as anchor for ABC affiliate KVUE. In 1994, he became co-owner of Austin CW affiliate KNVA. He then helped launch and was co-owner of KTLM, a Telemundo affiliate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Oliveira began working for KEYE in 2005.