KTVL, the CBS affiliate in Medford, is airing its final local newscasts Friday after 61 years. It’s reportedly one of five newsrooms that the station’s owner, Sinclair, is shutting down across the country.
The station’s anchors addressed it Friday in a pre-recorded statement at the end of their 5:00 p.m. newscast.
“Starting Monday, you’ll see a new news product in place of this broadcast. It’s called the National Desk and it will provide regional and national news,” anchor Carmine Gemei said.
KTVL is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is one of the largest independent television station ownership groups in the country. It also owns Portland’s KATU and KVAL in Eugene.
The National Desk is Sinclair’s national broadcast, showing both original content and stories from other Sinclair stations across the country.
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Sources tell Central Oregon Daily News that KTVL staff members were instructed to not say anything publicly about the end of the newscasts until Friday even though the news broke two weeks ago.
KTVL Meteorologist Holden LeCroy was one of those to break their silence Friday on Facebook.
“As many of you know, today will be our last newscasts KTVL CBS 10 News, Medford (11pm will be our last show) and I hope you all tune in throughout the day! It has been an absolute honor to not only be in this community, but to be embraced by you and be able to bring you local news and weather.” LeCroy wrote.
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When the end of the local news operation was first reported, Oregon Public Broadcasting says it spoke to Taylar Ansures, a digital content producer at KTVL.
“They were planning to keep the entire community, all of Southern Oregon in the dark, all of our viewers in the dark, until our last day, until our last broadcast,” Ansures reportedly said.
Reports indicated about a dozen employees face layoffs.
KOBI-TV in Medford, citing anonymous sources within the station, reports that a meteorologist in Eugene will do weather for KTVL and that the station will eventually have one reporter who will cover Southern Oregon. Northern California news will come from a reporter in Redding.
Sinclair is also shutting down local newscast operations at four other stations in Toledo, Ohio, Gainesville, Fla., Sioux City, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb., according to reports.
The Medford-Klamath Falls television market is the 136th-largest in the country. For comparison, Bend is 180th. Portland is 22nd and Eugene is 119th.
The move comes three months after the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford announced its closure. EO Media Group quickly announced it would start a new paper in the city.