Positions cut, departments merged at KHNL/KFVE-TV
POSTED: Sunday, December 14, 2008
Newspeople from around the dial gathered Friday night to bid "aloha" to colleagues and competitors from KHNL-TV/KFVE-TV who were let go from the stations last week.
The job cuts were part of nationwide layoffs ordered by Alabama-based parent company Raycom Media Inc. that affected more than four dozen mainland broadcast employees, on-air and off-air.
John Fink, vice president and general manager of the stations declined to divulge the number of employees affected locally but confirmed that the cutting was done.
News Director Dan Dennison, online anchor Cindy Cha and some behind-the-scenes personnel were among those cut, as was the news department's 11 a.m. weekday newscast.
He also announced a consolidation of several departments resulting in the elimination of the news director position.
"We're moving news, programming and creative services, which is commercial production, local programs and UH sports and marketing all into one department called Content," Fink said.
"It's all about content, whether it is online, on-air, in print, or on the radio," Fink said.
Twenty-five-year KHNL veteran Dan Schmidt will run the department.
"He's very passionate, energetic, creative and a good leader and I've put him in charge of taking us to the next level," said Fink.
"We're very excited and confident as we move into the new building and Hawaii's first HD newscast that Dan is the guy to lead us."
Asked about Schmidt's journalistic chops, Fink said he had served as interim news director and had previously produced the news at KGMB before joining KHNL/KFVE.
Additionally, "we have a lot of seasoned professionals in our newsroom," including assistant news directors Randy Ennis and Rich Meiers. Ennis oversees operations while Meiers oversees editorial functions.
Employees of the merged departments will "continue to work in their area of expertise," but will be working under one umbrella "having multiple outlets and opportunities to be creative," Fink said.
Consumers use media differently now "and we need to react to it ... we think the time has come to do things differently."
Dennison declined a phone interview but relayed a statement via e-mail.
"I am extremely proud of the individual and collective efforts of all of the members of the KHNL/K5 news team," he said.
"My hope is more and more Hawaii news consumers will discover the team's quality work and depth of talent. Obviously I regret that I will no longer be part of their extraordinary efforts."
Dennison succeeded Sue Levine as news director about two-and-a-half years ago, returning to Hawaii from the mainland. He previously had served as news director at KHON-TV from 2003 to 2005.