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Rogue Valley Sinclair Broadcasting station KTVL to lay off all news employees, staffer says

KTVL host Carmine Gemei speaks with Natalie Webber of the Oregon Department of Forestry. Sinclair Broadcasting announced layoffs of KTVL's staff on April 27, 2023.

The Southern Oregon and Northern California TV station KTVL plans to lay off its entire news staff in mid-May, according to a current staff member.

Taylar Ansures is a digital content producer at the Medford station, which is owned by the telecommunications conglomerate Sinclair Broadcast Group. Ansures said that on Thursday morning, their general manager informed the newsroom that the station will cease operations after Friday, May 12.

“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,” she said.

According to Ansures, the closure will affect all 17 people on their news staff, including managers.

According to a statement from Sinclair Broadcast Group, the network’s national news desk will take over starting Monday, May 15.

“The National Desk, which provides real-time national and regional news from Sinclair’s television stations across the US, will air during KTVL’s regularly scheduled news time periods, with an opportunity for local news cut-ins in the newscast,” the statement reads.

A Sinclair spokesperson did not provide further detail about local content or new programming. KTVL News Director Chad Hypes could not be reached for more information.

Ansures said she started working at KTVL in November, after moving from another Sinclair-owned station in Redding, California to be closer to family. While she had seen similar downsizing at other Northern California TV stations, she said this was more dramatic.

“It’s happening in other markets, but I’ve never seen it happen quite like this where it was so blindsided and unexpected. Even our management was left in the dark until [Thursday],” she said.

KTVL shared a newsroom with the Medford Mail Tribune until the Rogue Valley’s longest-running newspaper closed operations in early 2023. During that time, questions swirled about the nature of the relationship between the two media companies.

Ansures said managers told staff the KTVL closure was separate from the Mail Tribune ceasing operations. She said staff did not receive an explanation from Sinclair’s corporate representatives for why the layoffs were occurring.

Additional layoffs and downsizing have happened across the national media industry in recent months. In March, NPR laid off 10% of its workforce. In mid April, Buzzfeed announced it was closing its news division, Buzzfeed News. On April 27, Vice announced it would close its news division, Vice News Tonight.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.