KHON lays off veteran news exec
Today's show was the last at the station for Wally Zimmermann
Longtime television news executive Wally Zimmermann has been laid off by the new owners of KHON-TV.
He has served as the executive producer of “Hawaii’s Morning News” for three and a half years, but has been a local television news executive for decades, broken up by other gigs here and elsewhere.
Today’s show was his last. He announced his impending departure to the crew after the broadcast and lingered briefly to talk story.
“This is not a complete surprise, based on what they announced that they were going to do,” Zimmermann said. “It’s not out of context or out of the blue. They warned us that there were going to be cutbacks.”
Montecito Broadcast Group LLC announced to KHON staff in January that as many as 35 employees would be fired to make way for automation and other operational changes. The layoff plans precipitated the resignations of the general manager and eight of nine department heads earlier this month.
Zimmermann was brought back to KHON by Rick Blangiardi, senior vice president and general manager, from the communications director position at the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.
Prior to that, he had been news director at KITV, at WDIV-TV in Detroit and prior to that, was news director at KHON for 7 years. Before he came to Hawaii, Zimmermann, 62, was at WLUK-TV in Green Bay, Wis. for 10 years.
“I’m a grownup. I understand you look for work on these things. It’s not as if they’re saying ‘You’re no good,’” he said. Montecito’s plan was “to not have any executive producers.” KHON had two.
Lori Silva was promoted to news director, leaving Zimmermann’s job on the chopping block.