Two longtime local television news fixtures and a weather/traffic reporter were among the casualties when Sinclair Broadcasting Group had nationwide cutbacks this week.
WTVC, Newschannel 9, let go local sports icon Dave Staley and longime news/sports reporter John Madewell.
Erin Thomas, who was part of the weather staff and did traffic reports, was also let go in the Wednesday cutbacks.
The bios for Mr. Staley, Mr. Madewell and Ms. Thomas have already been taken down from the Newschannel 9 website.
Sources said the station had about 11 layoffs, including one photographer and some production personnel.
Dave Staley started out his broadcast career in Wyoming, then had a stop in Colorado and went back to Wyoming before coming to Newschannel 9 in early 1984. He has worked as a sports anchor/reporter ever since, becoming sports director in 2013 after the retirement of Darrell Patterson.
Mr. Staley is best known for his award-winning "Diamond Darlings" series about youngsters getting their first introduction to ball playing in the summer.
Mr. Madewell joined Newschannel 9 in May 1994. He was a longtime news reporter, then he switched to sports after Mr. Patterson retired.
Sinclair, which is one of the largest local TV station owners in the country, blamed the effects of the coronavirus pandemic for the mass layoffs.
It said it was laying off approximately five percent of its workforce, starting with 11,600 on the payroll.
A Sinclair spokesperson said, "The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt across all sectors of the economy, something that can have a profound impact on a company as diversified as ours. From local businesses and advertisers to distributors and partners, no component of our business’s ecosystem has been fully shielded from the impact of the global pandemic. In response to this, we are currently undergoing enterprise-wide reductions across our workforce, including corporate headquarters, to ensure we are well-positioned for future success."
Sinclair holdings include some 130 local TV stations. It acquired from Fox Live sports its regional sports networks in 2019. The RSNs were hard hit by the cancellation of games during the pandemic.