Joe Moore declines to leave anchor post at KHON
KHON anchor Joe Moore allayed fears and quieted speculation yesterday by announcing to co-workers via e-mail that he is not going to resign.
"The intent (was) to let my fellow employees know exactly how I'm feeling at this point and what I intend to do," he told the Star-Bulletin.
Moore has worked at KHON since 1978, joining the station as sports anchor after a tenure of nine years at KGMB. Moore's KHON contract expires in 2009. George Lilly, chief executive officer of station parent Montecito Broadcast Group LLC, said he was "delighted" with Moore's decision to stay.
Tumult at the station, caused by the new owners' plan to cut one-third of the staff, shifted into high gear last week when eight KHON managers resigned. Each said they could not support the staff cutbacks or operational model planned by Montecito.
Anchors usually do not bear a management title, but they often are viewed as de facto leaders in a television newsroom.
The most difficult question Moore had to answer, he said, was "How could I possibly work for owners I do not respect?"
Moore said in his staff e-mail that his conclusion, after much deliberation, was: "The owners are not KHON2. We, the people who work here are KHON2. I would not be working FOR THE OWNERS (his capitalization).
"I would be working FOR OUR VIEWERS, and WITH fellow employees I deeply respect (his capitalization). I have decided not to let our owners drive me out of KHON2."
Though he reached a different decision from those who resigned last week, Moore said: "I have the utmost respect for my friends and colleagues who chose their course of action.
"Like all of you, I am deeply saddened and angry that ... our new owners have put us in this terrible position. It is wrong, and none of us deserve it."
He also laid blame on the station's seller, Indiana-based Emmis Communications Corp., "who chose to sell us to the highest bidder, without any regard for our well-being or that of our viewers," he said.
Emmis has called KHON a tremendous asset to the community. "We are extremely proud of the team that helped make us the most-watched news station in the market," said Kate Snedeker, director of media and investor relations.
"With a new owner comes a new approach; some employees will agree and thrive with a new vision and others will not. When Emmis owned KHON, we operated it with the best interests of the community, employees and company, including our shareholders, in mind."
The company also recognizes that a new owner "with similar interests ... can approach it in their own way. It is now Montecito's responsibility to run KHON as they see fit, consistent with their vision," Snedeker said.
Emmis "has done its best to ease the transition to Montecito, both financially and with support from our human relations department," Snedeker said.
Montecito had no intention of "driving (Moore) out of KHON2," said Lilly. "We think he's an important part of KHON2."
"I just hope that as we go forward and he gets to know more about us, that we can earn his respect. We'll accept that challenge," he said. "You don't simply get respect, you need to earn it. We need to earn it and we're intent on doing so."
Across the pond ...
At KHON sister station KOIN in Portland, Ore., News Director Jeff Alan announced that two hours of weekend news would be cut to "beef up" the weekday staff, which is smaller because of the 21 job cuts Montecito announced last month.
The half-hour news show at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays has been eliminated and the one-hour 6 p.m. news is being cut to 30 minutes.
One reporter has been reassigned to the weekday morning show. Two reporters will staff the first show and one will work at night. Of the two weekend producers, one has been assigned to cover for the maternity leave of a co-worker and the remaining weekend producer, Brad Belstock, submitted his resignation yesterday. His last day is March 3.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com