Here’s some sad news for trivia junkies, obscure local rock bands, and little old ladies who don’t know how to change the channel on their television.
We’ve learned through the Ogle Mole Network that KSBI Channel 52 has cancelled two of its local programs (Oklahoma Live! and Wild Card), laid off most of its staff and is moving away from producing live local fledgling programming. Apparently it’s part of a grand plan by KSBI President Vince Orza to make the station watchable.
We first heard reports of the news on Friday after layoff rumors began to circulate through the Ogle Mole Network. Here are a couple of emails we received:
Not sure if you’ve heard this yet, but KSBI has laid off most of its employees, cancelled almost every show (the remaining ones will likely end after contracts are up) and I heard a rumor that the station is up for sale.
Does TLO need a TV station? I think so.
Word on the street (from some friends/former employees of KSBI…former as of this afternoon) KSBI laid off a HUGE number of people today. Most of their production staff, their entire marketing staff, and some sales & admin types. Reason: some kind of money/budget restructuring thing but they couldn’t or wouldn’t say more.
I did some checking and it looks like the emails were accurate. I talked to a Mole who lost his or her job in the RIF. The individual claimed that Orza laid off almost “everyone except for master control and the sales staff.” The Mole also claims the rif came just weeks after Orza threw a lavish party for advertisers at the Quail Creek Country Club. I hope those advertisers love the elusive “old and unemployed” demographic.
I sent Vince Orza an email asking for a response and clarification on the rumors. Well, at least I thought I did. I just checked my “sent” folder and couldn’t find the email anywhere. I guess that’s what I get for trying to play real news reporter while walking my dogs on a beautiful Monday afternoon. I doubt he would have replied anyway. He was probably too busy daydreaming about Garfield’s being successful. Zing!
Actually, if I had it to do over again, I would accidentally not send Vince Orza a different email. This time it would be go like this:
The whole move towards producing original programming was your big idea, right? Since the switch was a failure, why do you get to keep your job, too? Where’s your accountability?
Thanks. And by the way, you were my mom’s favorite professor at Central State.
Here are some random notes:
• The network will still air episodes of Dog Talk and Mind Games – yes, those are real shows – but that’s because they have already been paid for through sponsorships. When those sponsorships end, expect those shows to be cancelled, too.
• This is a big blow to the local PR industry. For the past three or four years, they’ve counted on KSBI as an easy way to get clients on television and justify their expensive retainer fees. Get ready for a sudden influx of news pitches, Freedom 43 employees
• According to the Ogle Mole Network, Oklahoma Live’s Abby Broyle’s is moving to KFOR Channel 4, while her co-host Drew Schroeder will continue staring at the sun and being a radio jock on KISS FM. Outside of drinking coffee with Gan Matthews, we have no clue what Ed Murray is going to do.
• In all honesty, I’m going to kind of miss KSBI’s live programming. Fom giving Abigail Ogle her big break to hiring Vanity Perkins as a fashion reporter to kicking Jabee off set because they didn’t want to expose the five people viewing at home to Omniplex rap music, it was always a good source of material of us over the years. Plus, they gave us a year of Alex Wehrley. She appears to be doing well.
• I’m not going to miss the KSBI trivia show Wild Card. It had as much to do with trivia as Sonic does fine dining.
Anyway, share your favorite KSBI moments, or reply to emails I thought I sent to you, in the comments.