Why is Cincinnati Losing Local TV Talent So Quickly?

By Kevin Eck 

Cincinnati local stations appear to be struggling to hold on to on-air staff. This year’s high turnover rate led local media writer John Kiesewetter to ask some of the stations about what’s going on in the Queen City market.

Kiesewetter points out that this year’s turnover in reporters and anchors is the highest he’s ever seen. Twenty four reporters and anchors have left the local airwaves. Nine of those have quit the TV business completely.

While Kiesewetter writes about the trend Cincinnati market, it also seems to be happening nationwide. Former WLWT sports reporter and anchor Brandon Saho, who left to launch a mental health podcast told Kiesewetter, “I think a lot of young reporters feel the same way I do: You work crazy hours, late nights and weekends, while being overworked and underpaid.”


All four TV newsrooms witnessed talented young staffers abandon their television careers: Alexa Helwig, Kathryn Robinson, Clancy Burke (WKRC-TV); Jake Ryle, Keenan Singleton (WCPO-TV); Lauren Artino, Trevor Peters (WXIX-TV); and Mollie Lair, Alenna Martella and Saho (WLWT-TV).

Former WCPO news director Chip Mahaney who now recruits and mentors young journalists for Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps, said the job market is more competitive than ever.

“There are a lot of exit points available to journalists that we didn’t have 10 years ago, and they’re taking advantage of them,” said Mahaney, who also said, “It is a hard job.”

The article also points out that on-air talent now face contributing content to more newscasts, streaming channels and the constant pressure to maintain a social media presence.

Instead of researching and preparing one taped “package” for the 5-6 p.m. or late news, many reporters today are doing more live shots for more newscasts, and posting or updating stories on the station’s website and other platforms throughout the day. Instead of just one or two deadlines a day, reporters are on deadline every minute. The pressure is constant.

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