There are a few more recognizable names among KSTP-TV’s layoffs — chief among them sportscaster Anne Hutchinson. The writing was on the wall for Hutchinson a week ago, when her “High School Sports Wrap” was canceled for low revenues.
Most viewers won’t recognize another name: executive producer Danielle Prenevost. Ironically, Prenevost was all over the news last month after she fired an intern, who allegedly went berserk, screaming profanities and busting out windows.
KSTP insiders stress that the incident had nothing to do with Prenevost’s departure. Neither Hutchinson nor Prenevost returned a call for comment.
Hutchinson’s show wasn’t the only one eliminated; Jason Davis’ stand-alone “On the Road” was also canceled, though Davis remains at KSTP.
I talked this morning with general manager Rob Hubbard, who would not confirm personnel or even layoff numbers. (The Strib’s Neal Justin reports it was “up to 18.”)
Hubbard insisted the station is not losing money. “We’re not going broke,” he said. “We’re not in that position.”
However, he said the cuts were made in accordance with a 2009 budget that is “significantly down.” The biggest factor: the evaporation of automotive ads — “by far our largest category.”
There’s always a bit of feistiness to the Hubbard males (I worked for Rob’s sister Ginny at KSTP-AM a decade ago), and Rob is no exception.
He contends KSTP’s layoffs are getting more attention because they’re the market’s only local owners — though I seem to remember a bit of publicity about that Paul Douglas thing at WCCO — and because they were done en mass, compared to other stations dribbling out their bad news.
Hubbard argues KSTP’s headcount remains high, compared with other stations, insists no other shoe is about to drop: “We’re not making any promises, but there’s nothing we’re planning, no second sheet of paper.”