KCBS Decimates On-Air Staff Amid Company-Wide Layoffs

KCBS Logo (Credit: CBS)

In what can best be described as a bloodbath, KCBS-KCAL in Los Angeles decimated its on-air staff during layoffs this week.

The cuts began Wednesday afternoon with longtime L.A.-market news anchors Jeff Michael and Sharon Tay being let go. Weathercaster Garth Kemp also exited the station.

The investigative unit at the CBS-owned duopoly known as the “I-Team” was cut as well, an insider told Urban Hollywood 411. Investigative reporter David Goldstein, who is known for his segments uncovering corruption among Los Angeles city government workers, is expected to now report on general assignment news, the individual revealed.

“Everyone is stunned and saddened,” the insider said about the layoffs.

The changes continued with news anchor Sandra Mitchell getting cut. By Thursday afternoon, Mitchell’s biography page had been scrubbed from the station website. Morning traffic anchor Jennifer Kim was let go as well, and her bio was removed from the station website.

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Over the past two years, KCBS-KCAL has had a series of dizzying changes. Weekend evening anchor and weekday reporter Elsa Ramon left in May 2018, followed by longtime newscaster Leyna Nguyen in July 2018. Anchors Andrea Fujii and Jackie Johnson also left the duopoly. Evening news anchor Rick Garcia left the station as well. Garcia took over for beloved anchor Paul Magers, who announced his retirement in 2017.

Viewers seemingly tired of the changes and KCBS has struggled in the ratings. The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the CBS O&O trails KABC-TV, Spanish-language stations KMEX-TV Channel 34 and KVEA-TV Channel 52, and KNBC-TV in viewers.

After these latest cuts, the insider told Urban Hollywood 411 that the situation at the duopoly will only go from bad to worse with no I-Team and no morning traffic anchor.

Media outlets across the nation face challenging times because of a loss of advertising revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But the cuts at KCBS-KCAL were particularly deep and followed last year’s merger between CBS and Viacom. According to published reports, there were also cuts this week at the CBS-owned stations in Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, and the network news division.

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CBS News President Susan Zirinsky told staffers in a Wednesday memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter that management was forced to make “difficult decisions” as a result of “the economic fallout from the pandemic coming on top of the cost savings initiatives already underway from the merger of CBS and Viacom.”

The network news division parted ways with about 50 staffers this week, according to THR.

“There isn’t a single person leaving who did a bad job,” Zirinsky said. “It’s economics. It is absolutely the financials that has forced us to make these decisions… I’m really sorry. There is not a person who won’t be missed.”

10 thoughts on “KCBS Decimates On-Air Staff Amid Company-Wide Layoffs

  1. Some of these people are icons in the news industry. How could ou possibly let them go? Jeff Micheal Sharon Tay and Garth Kemp has long been stables at your station I’m sure the public will hate to see them go
    surely you could have found somewhere else to cut your budget and know that these people could of been spared Shame on you. I’m switching over to KNBC

  2. I will never understand why we let Garth Kemp go. He is absolutely the best weatherman with the most personality on TV. I can understand why they may have to make cuts, but replacing him with who they did makes no sense. Switching over to another channel now

  3. How could you lay-off such good people? Their sincerity was real, for every story every tear and compassion for life came through to all of us. It’s sad when we all need to have that trust in a familiar face who brings us the good the bad and certainly lately the very ugly truth. You took my smile I gave to Garth for his humble
    assessment of weather and life, sometimes the bottom line shouldn’t be there for humanities sake.
    Thank You for letting me vent. They all will be missed.

  4. Good riddance for Garth Kemp, he was annoying and over due, enjoy your unemployment punk. It sucks for Jeff Micheals and Sandra Mitchell, they were good anchors on TV surley will miss them. Jennifer Kim was a waste a space on air, her traffic reports sucked. It sucks that they are dumping the high paid veterans for unexperiance kids. Out with the old and in the the unexperiance. Wait til the end of the year more heads are going to roll and the pink slips arrive hot and fresh.

    1. Well BLESS your juvenile little heart, “Vinny”. You’re just something special, aren’t you?

    2. Garth is missed. He was a great weatherman and a great person all around. Not only did he know his job but he made it interesting and understandable. So miss me with the negative comments. Good Luck Garth wherever you are at the moment.

    3. Well aren’t you just the little ray of sunshine. Obviously you don’t have a clue about good broadcasting.Garth knew his job and was damned good at it. Time to get a life and miss me with your foolish negativity.

  5. I live in Miami and watch CBS Los Angeles daily. I am disappointed that Garth Kemp is no longer at the station these past several months. Garth is a pro, and it showed every time he was on the air. He also infused his clever humor into his presentation. Like the old saying, “When one door closes, another door opens”, I hope Garth lands in the middle of a great new opportunity soon.

  6. I agree Ivan. But to keep Donchey? She apparently must have something “special” that keeps her around. She’s a real DUD! Those with real talent are let go, yet keep a misfit like Donchey presents a real mystery.

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