Most employees at KMSB Channel 11 will lose their jobs within the next three to four months, when Raycom Media Inc.-owned KOLD Channel 13 will take over news broadcasts for that station, as well as provide marketing and engineering support for KTTU Channel 18.
Both KMSB and KTTU are owned by Dallas-based Belo Corp.
The expected job losses are believed to be between 20 and 30, but neither Belo's Tucson management nor its Phoenix-based human resources department would confirm the figure.
Paul McTear, president and CEO of Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom, was in town Tuesday to sign a shared services agreement, which will allow KOLD to provide news programming and other services for KMSB and KTTU.
KTTU does not currently air news broadcasts.
McTear said Belo will continue to operate a sales staff based out of KOLD's offices. He said the station, at 7831 N. Business Park Drive, is looking to expand to an office downtown.
According to McTear, Belo and Raycom have been discussing the move for some time. McTear said the Tucson TV advertising market has shrunk by $25 million over the past four years.
McTear said newscasts on KMSB will not be reruns of KOLD's broadcasts but will be produced separately. He said he does not expect KOLD's anchors to serve in the same capacity on the other broadcasts, and that KMSB will not be a place for second-tier news that doesn't make the cut on the KOLD newscast. McTear said that if a story breaks at 8 p.m., it will air on KMSB's 9 p.m. newscast before KOLD gets the story at 10.
Belo will continue to control, manage, program and sell advertising at KTTU and KMSB.
KOLD will upgrade the station's news and commercial broadcasts to high-definition. KOLD news director Michelle Germano will also oversee the KMSB and KTTU broadcasts.
In a written statement, Belo said the agreement takes effect Feb. 1, but McTear said that's a rough estimate and that the agreement is expected to go into effect sometime in the next three or four months.
McTear said KOLD will hire new staff in news, engineering and marketing, and that KMSB personnel will get the first chance to interview for the openings.
"A lot of areas are going to be (filled) by folks from Belo," he said, declining to reveal how many positions will become available.
Not all KMSB employees are confident they will land jobs at KOLD.
"I just found out as well as the rest of the staff that Fox 11 is discontinuing local production of its newscasts as of Feb. 1 and will be outsourcing to KOLD," said KMSB producer Ken Carr via email. "I just got hired at Fox 11 and appreciate the opportunity I was given even though it's shorter than I had hoped."
Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or firstname.lastname@example.org