News gets the hatchet in Topeka

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KTKA-TV Topeka, Kan., will drop its three newscasts Friday. The elimination
of its news department puts nine full-time and 17 part-time staffers out of
work.

Station sources said rumors were circulating around the station late last
week, and executives met with the staff Friday.

The station is owned by Brechner Management Co., a small Briarcliff Manor,
N.Y.-based company with two television and three radio stations.

KTKA-TV plans to continue some form of local programming in one of the three
slots. Syndicated programming, plus a five-minute nightly news update --
produced by a far-smaller staff -- will likely fill the other slots.

Executives said digital-conversion costs, loss of network comp and increased
programming costs and the current slow economy, contributed to the decision to
kill local news.

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