KVEC dismissing its morning news hosts

Two voices of local news will go silent in about two weeks when KVEC-AM dismisses news director King Harris and producer and co-anchor Joe Bowman.

Harris, who has had a long local career in journalism, confirmed Monday that he was notified via a Dec. 3 email from station management that Jan. 15 would be the program’s last day on air.

He said he was told the decision was made for “budgetary reasons.”

Ron Roy, regional vice president for station owner El Dorado Broadcasters and general manager of KVEC, said in an email Monday that the station does not comment on personnel issues. He did not respond to nonpersonnel-related questions in subsequent emails.

Bowman declined to comment by phone Monday.

For more than three years, Harris and Bowman helmed “KVEC Morning News with King Harris,” one of San Luis Obispo County radio’s few local news programs.

Harris said Monday that he was told former KKJL-FM radio host Dick Mason will take over the morning news programming, but he did not know whether the program would retain its three-hour slot.

“There are many ways it could go,” Harris said. “We have three hours to fill every morning.”

Mason said Monday that he has been in informal talks with station management about heading the morning newscast but has not received any specific details or official confirmation.

Harris has a storied local news career. He worked as a news anchor at KEYT-TV Santa Barbara from 1980 to 1996 and first came to KVEC in 1999, serving several years as news director before moving to KCOY-TV and later working as managing editor of New Times.

He returned to the station in 2006 and has worked as its morning local news anchor and reporter since. He has taught journalism at Cal Poly and writes a weekly opinion column in Tolosa Press publications such as SLO City News.

Harris said he does not yet know what his next step will be after Jan. 15, but he said he plans to continue his print column.

El Dorado Broadcasters owns four San Luis Obispo radio stations: KVEC, Sunny Country KSLY-FM, Coast KSTT-FM and New Rock KURQ-FM.