The Aftermath of the Honolulu Station Merger

By Andrew Gauthier 

Byline

The future remains uncertain in Honolulu for employees at local stations KGMB, KHNL, and KFVE/K5 following Tuesday’s announcement of a Shared Services Agreement. Alabama-based Raycom Media, which owns KHNL and KFVE/K5, and MCG Capital Corp., which owns KGMB, said that the merger will result in the layoffs of 68 employees. Management began to interview employees on Wednesday to determine who of the current 198 staff members will be asked to stay on.

Rick Blangiardi will become General Manager for both KGMB and KHNL, and Chris Archer, the news director at KGMB, will retain that title for the jointly operated staff.

At Tuesday’s announcement, Raycom Media President and CEO Paul McTear explained, “Over the last 3 years, the revenue television pie in Hawaii has lost 20 million bucks… We had to find a different way to conduct our business, and taking out some of the fixed costs is what we decided to do.”

“Some kind of consolidation was inevitable,” KGMB business reporter Howard Dicus told the Honolulu Advertiser .

Honolulu is ranked 61st among American media markets, and has around 372,000 residents. McTear said in a statement, “This market cannot support five traditionally separated television stations, all with duplicated costs. Rather than experiencing the loss of one, or possibly two stations in Hawaii, we intend to preserve three stations that provide important and valuable local, national and international programming to viewers in Hawaii.”

The stations will maintain separate (smaller) staffs, but will share the costs of news gathering and production, and some newscasts will be simulcast on more than one station at a time.

MCG, based in Arlington, VA, had hoped KGMB would be the first of many successful stations in a media empire, but those dreams were dashed when a global economic downturn set in, and imperiled television stations nationwide. Under the new deal, MCG will get the revenues from the smallest station, KFVE/K5, while Raycom will get revenues from CBS-affiliate KGMB and NBC-affiliate KHNL.

Terry Hunter, a reporter/videographer KGMB for 27 years, says, “Hopefully, they’re going to keep the best people, but with the economy being the main reason this is happening in the first place, who knows?”

Advertisement
Advertisement