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Its synergy time for CBS

Station group consolidates management, facilities, back offices of duopoly stations 9/17/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern

CBS is merging operations in the six markets in which it now owns two stations. In five of the markets, the so-called duopoly stations will be housed under one roof. And in four, one general manager will run both stations.

Many of the back-office functions will be consolidated, resulting in the loss of dozens of jobs through layoffs, buyouts and attrition. In most markets, for example, one finance department will serve both stations. Officials declined to say how many positions will be lost.

Only one general manager is leaving as a result of the reorganization-David Tynan, who ran the UPN station in Dallas, ktxa. Brian Jones, who runs KTVT-TV, the CBS station there, will now oversee both stations. Plans to move ktxa into KTVT-TV headquarters are now being worked out.

The consolidation had been expected since May, when Viacom folded its Paramount Stations Group into the CBS Television Stations Division, under President John Severino. Paramount Stations head Tony Cassara resigned and subsequently joined Chartwell Partners, a Los Angeles investment company.

"When we put these stations together, tremendous opportunities presented themselves," says CBS Television CEO Leslie Moonves. "This is the first step in realizing those opportunities."

In Detroit, Mike Dunlop, the general manager of UPN affiliate WKBD(TV), will control the CBS station WWJ(TV). Detroit has been one of the weakest links in the CBS distribution chain since the defection of the New World Station group six years ago.

The station averages about a 7 share of audience (sign-on to sign-off). And wkbd, the UPN station, frequently doubles wwj-tv's ratings in the key demographics.

Kevin Cuddihy, station manager at WWJ-TV, will continue to serve in that post, reporting to Dunlop. Cuddihy will oversee the WWJ sales staff. Plans to move both stations into a single facility are in the works.

In Boston, Ed Goldman, who runs WBZ-TV (CBS) will also oversee WSBK-TV (UPN). The GM slot at WSBK-TV has been vacant since Walter DeHaven left earlier this year for the CBS-owned station in Chicago, WBBM-TV. Staff and facilities at both stations will be combined at WBZ-TV headquarters.

In Pittsburgh, Gary Couzen, who runs KDKA-TV, the CBS station, will also oversee wnpa (UPN). Kevin O'Kane, who had oversight of both wnpa and the UPN station in Philadelphia, wpsg, will now focus full time on the latter. Staff and facilities in Pittsburgh will be combined at kdka-tv.

Two GMs will continue to run the UPN and CBS stations in Philadelphia. Marcellus Alexander will handle KYW-TV, while O'Kane operates wpsg, although the staff and facilities will be combined at kyw-tv.

In Miami, the two stations will continue to be run independently by their managers, Steve Mauldin at WFOR-TV (CBS) and Bill Ballard at WBFS-TV (UPN). The stations will remain at their current locations.

 

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