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Eugene

Portland Reporter Suing Sinclair for Failing to Pay Overtime

sinclair_304Attorneys for former KATU investigative reporter Thom Jensen have filed a suit seeking class action status for a federal lawsuit saying Sinclair Broadcasting Group failed to pay overtime to news reporters at its stations in Oregon, reports The Register-Guard.

Jensen, who worked at the Portland ABC affiliate from October 2006 until December 2012, alleges he regularly worked between five to 10 hours of overtime each week without getting paid for it.

The lawsuit would include people who worked at KATU in Portland as well as those who worked at KMTR and KVAL in Eugene. Fisher Communications, which owned the stations before Sinclair announced it was buying the station group in April, is also named in the suit.

Also, the lawsuit claims Jensen has post-traumatic stress disorder and that the Portland station refused to accommodate his disability. The suit alleges Jensen was fired because of that disability and in retaliation for complaining about not receiving overtime pay.

Jensen claims the company created a stressful and difficult working environment that worsened his illness. Read more

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Nicole Comstock Joins KTXL in Sacramento

ComstockNicole Comstock has joined KTXL, the Fox affiliate in Sacramento, as a reporter.

Comstock comes from Eugene, Ore., where she was a reporter and weekend anchor at CBS affiliate KVAL. Comstock joined KVAL in 2012.

Before KVAL, Comstock worked at KPIC in Roseburg, Ore. and KGTV in San Diego.

‘Awkward Juxtaposition’: Station Shows Gas Fire with Title ‘Obama Remarks on ACA’

aca-gasfire_kvalKVAL, the Sinclair owned CBS affiliate for Eugene, OR, called attention to a gaffe on the CBS Live Feed it shows on its website.

The station posted the mistake to its facebook page, “Awaiting President Obama’s remarks on the Affordable Care Act this morning,  http://www.kval.com/cbslivefeed switched to aerial footage of a gas pipeline fire in Texas.”

To a viewer it might appear KVAL and/or CBS was making a political statement. On its facebook posting the station added, “The result: an awkward juxtaposition …”

After KMTR Layoffs, Matt Templeman and Renee McCullough Join Rival KEZI

Matt Templeman and Renee McCullough are joining KEZI, the ABC affiliate in Eugene, Ore., as evening co-anchors, The Register-Guard reports.

The pair, who have worked together for more than a decade, was laid off by rival KMTR, the NBC affiliate in Eugene. The station was acquired by Fisher Communications, which will operate KMTR and CBS affiliate KVAL as a duopoly.

“It’s my last night on KMTR and I’m saying goodbye tonight,” Templeman wrote on Facebook Thursday. “Don’t expect some lengthy, tearful ‘see you later…it’s not necessary, and I’m staying in the community.”

Mark Hatfield, vice president of news and programming for KEZI parent company Chambers Communications, told The Register-Guard that Templeman and McCullough are “outstanding news anchors.”

“There have been a lot of changes in this market recently, and we just want viewers to know that KEZI 9 News is, and will continue to be, committed to delivering the best local news, weather, and sports coverage anywhere in Western Oregon,” Hatfield said. “We’ve been connected to this community for over fifty years, and Matt and Renee will be a big part of the KEZI 9 News family moving forward.”

No word on what will happen to Brian Richardson and Jennifer Richardson, the husband-and-wife duo who currently anchor the evening newscasts. Templeman and McCullough are set to take over at the anchor desk beginning June 27.

>Update: The Richardsons will continue to anchor the 11 p.m. newscast in addition to providing live reports and breaking news coverage to the earlier evening newscasts. KEZI tells TVSpy the pair remains “an important part of the KEZI 9 News team, and their journalistic talents will continue to provide outstanding local news coverage to our viewers.”

Former Eugene Meteorologist Takes a Swing at Sinclair, the FCC and KMTR

Joseph Calbreath, retired meteorologist for Eugene, OR, NBC affiliate KMTR, is not being shy about giving viewers his take on Fisher Communications‘ acquisition of his former station and the layoffs that followed. In a facebook post riddled with misspellings and grammatical mistakes, Calbreath lets loose on everyone from the FCC to future owner Sinclair Broadcasting Group.

“Little did I know a couple of months ago when I picked the date of my retirement that it would coincided with the transfer of ownership that would result in 31 of my friends loosing their jobs in a blood bath type fashion.”

Calbreath retired from KMTR on May 31 after working there for almost 25 years. “Since this page is in my name and has nothing to do with my former employer, I will start changing the information I share here. I now for the first time in 30 year can have an opinion about things.” Read more

Advertisers Wary of KMTR After Reported Layoffs

What KMTR called “operational and organizational changes” earlier in the week, some employees of the Eugene, OR, NBC affiliate are now calling a “bloodbath,” The Register-Guard reports and it’s worrying station advertisers.

According to The Register-Guard, “Employees, former employees and advertisers said they have been told that 31 of the station’s approximately 50 workers received layoff notices after sale of the station to Seattle-based Fisher Communications closed on Monday, retroactive to June 1.”

KMTR was bought by Fisher Communications which will operate the station in tandem with its Eugene CBS affiliate KVAL under a shared services agreement with Roberts Media, LLC.

Donna Smith, president of the Adlib Advertising Agency told The Register-Guard, “We buy (advertising spots on) the evening and late night news. I’ve asked questions of them: ‘Whose news is going to be on? Is it going to be a replay of KVAL News? Are you going to hire cheaper (anchors)? Is the price going to go down? And what’s going to happen in four months when it’s all taken over by Sinclair?’ ” Read more

Layoffs Possible After Sale Of KMTR

With Fisher Communications taking over at KMTR in Eugene, Ore., “operational and staff” changes are on the way, the Register-Guard reports.

KMTR, previously owned by Newport Television, was purchased by Roberts Media, LLC and will be operated by Fisher Communications under a shared services agreement. Content sharing between KMTR and KVAL, Fisher’s CBS affiliate in Eugene, will begin next month.

KVAL-KMTR general manager Greg Raschio told the Register-Guard that management has held individual meetings with “virtually every employee.”

“Any operational and organizational changes that are made will be to gain efficiencies and eliminate (duplication),” Raschio said. “Out of respect for the individuals I’m not going to give you any numbers or names.”

Fisher Communications is in the process of being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which Raschio said may bring more changes to the station later this year.

Amanda Zitzman Set to Join KVAL in Eugene

Amanda Zitzman is leaving WTLV-WJXX in Jacksonville, Fla. for KVAL in Eugene, Ore.

Zitzman joined WTLV-WJXX in 2010 as the morning traffic anchor. She currently anchors the news cut-ins during “Today” and “Good Morning America” as well as solo anchoring the Saturday morning newscast. She is also the anchor of “On the Town,” a Friday evening segment about weekend activities in Jacksonville.

Zitzman begins April 1 as the morning and noon anchor at KVAL.

Katie Delaune Resigns From KVAL in Eugene

Katie Delaune has left KVAL, the CBS affiliate in Eugene, Ore.

“Katie has resigned her position with KVAL,” general manager Greg Raschio told TVSpy in an email.

Delaune joined the station earlier this year from WDRB, the Fox affiliate in Louisville. She co-anchored the morning and noon newscasts alongside Chris Wright. Delaune last appeared on KVAL in mid-November.

Fisher Broadcasting to Buy KMTR, Create Duopoly

Fisher Broadcasting has agreed to purchase the Eugene, OR, NBC affiliate, KMTR, from Newport Television for $8.5 million.

The deal will make Fisher the owner of both the NBC affiliate (KMTR) and the CBS affiliate (KVAL) in the Eugene market and also includes a shared services agreement with Roberts Media.

Newport has been selling off its stations since Providence Equity Partners, the private investment firm that owns Newport Television, announced its plan in March to sell off Newport’s 56 stations.

The deal is pending FCC approval.

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