KMSB Channel 11 and KOLD Channel 13 have reached an agreement: KMSB is dissolving its news department and will transfer production responsibilities to KOLD, but KMSB will keep the advertising revenue its sales staff can generate from the local news product that will be broadcast on Channel 11 from 7 to 9 a.m. and at 9 p.m.
The benefit for KOLD?
“They pay us for this service,” said KOLD general manager Debbie Bush. “So they’re paying us to provide news, engineering and marketing. We have nothing to do with their sales department, except our marketing department helps them with sales in terms of producing commercials and things like that. The news department will be entirely KOLD employees.”
KOLD may bring on some of the KMSB on-air talent and production staff that will be out of work effective Feb. 1 as a result of the transition.
“We’re going to add people. How many is still being determined. Once we get that decision, we’ll let them know first, and then they’ll have the opportunity to apply for those positions and interview for them. Some of those people may be coming over here. We don’t know; they don’t know. ... My sympathy goes out to those people right now.”
Raycom, which owns KOLD, has a similar arrangement with a station in Hawaii. Ultimately, the plan is to present the impression of a separation between the two products. The KMSB newscasts will have a largely different staff compared to KOLD’s on-air news product—at least in front of the camera, although occasional crossover benefits are available.
“Let’s say there was some kind of major news event that happened at 8 o’clock. We have a reporter out there; let’s say it’s (KOLD reporter) J.D. Wallace. J.D. Wallace could pop up at the top of the 9 o’clock news, maybe at 9:30, maybe at the very end of the 9 o’clock news, and then say, 'By the way, join me in a couple minutes on KOLD at 10, and I’ll give you an update,'” Bush said. “Of course it’s going to help us, because it gives us more exposure. Maybe people have never watched KOLD. But that’s not the point: The point is we will be producing high-quality newscasts for KMSB, and we will take pride in that.”
When KOLD recently upgraded its studio, it included the ability to make aesthetic changes within minutes. The station is confident it can utilize that capability when it transitions from its local morning newscast (airing from 4:30 to 7 a.m.) to the KMSB local-news product from 7 to 9. Likewise, a transition will occur from KMSB’s 9 p.m. newscast to KOLD’s 10 o’clock broadcast.
“It will have its own graphics. It will be a KMSB-branded newscast and not look like KOLD,” Bush said.