In a drastic effort to cut costs, the parent company of Central Coast television news affiliates KCOY and KKFX fired a reported 13 employees Wednesday.
Kevin Harlan, who has been the general manager of the Santa Maria-based stations for the last three years, said the cuts were a result of declining revenue.
“The television markets have lost millions of dollars over the last several years. We are a business and we have to address this," Harlan said.
Cowles Media Co., which is a division of The Cowles Co. located in Spokane, Wash., owns and operates KCOY and KKFX along with four stations located in Salinas, Spokane and Yakima, Wash. KCOY is a CBS affiliate, while KKFX is affiliated with Fox.
The company is consolidating all of its stations in California to cut costs.
Repeated calls to the company headquarters were met with a busy signal. However, the company’s website posted a statement regarding the layoffs that said, “Seeking to lower capital and operating costs and improve on-air product, Cowles California Media Group has consolidated control of six of its TV stations ... by centralizing and automating control of all six stations in Salinas, we greatly reduced our capital and operating costs, advanced our on-air look with widescreen SDTV and HDTV, and eliminated the inefficiencies and technical errors that hurt the bottom line."
Cowles owns the following California TV stations: KION, KCBA and KMUV in Salinas, KCOY and KKVX in Santa Maria, and KBAK-DT in Bakersfield.