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Losing Faith with Channel 24

prado_sidlow

When it comes to treating employees fairly in these cutthroat economic times, I’m resigned to the Genghis Kahn mindset of big business bosses. Such notions as treating people with respect and honoring years of service to a company seem positively prissy these days to the marauding knights of capitalism. Show a little compassion or human decency? That could be a career blunder when it comes to clawing one’s way to the highly paid corporate top. Ruthless is where it’s at.

Still … I can’t help but be a little surprised (and appalled) at the way Faith Sidlow and Pamela Prado were treated this week by the management of KSEE Channel 24. Both were booted out unceremoniously — Sidlow after 28 years at the station, Prado after nearly 10. They weren’t even given the chance to bid their viewers farewell. One day they were in your living room, and the next day they’d vanished, as if they’d been snatched by aliens. The underlying cause, of course, was cost cutting, as Texas-based Nexstar — which recently purchased both KSEE Channel 24 and KGPE Channel 47 — is doing what American businesses do so well: consolidating staffs and making do with less.

Granted, TV news has always been a rough-and-tumble business. On-air personalities are just that — personalities, and as such they can quickly fall out of favor with station management or fall prey to the latest in-vogue newscast makeover. Reporters and anchors have always known their tenure can be tenuous. (Presumably, they get paid more to make up for the lack of job security.) Add in one owner for two stations, and for many of the fine media folks working locally for the new company, tensions have been high these past few months. The writing has been on the wall.

From the perspective of the minor corporate bureaucrats running the station, the “clean your desk, you’re out of here” approach means a clean break. Why dwell on the past? It’s also standard practice to lay off people in TV and radio without any goodbye to viewers. (I guess management is worried that a disgruntled worker will call for a worker’s revolution on the air?) Sadly, the same thing has happened at some newspapers in the past few years as well. Still, to yank these familiar faces from our screens without any preparation for viewers — or chance to celebrate their years of connection with the community — seems not only heartless, but also a little stupid.

The reason is social media.

Consider: Sidlow’s Facebook page has more than 2,000 “likes.” When she posted her layoff announcement and offered an eloquent farewell, 600 people “liked” that comment alone. Then 268 people added their own comments to the mix, many of which said, essentially: “That’s it. I won’t watch KSEE anymore.” Some examples:

*** Faith just letting you know how much you will be missed we have watched you for years. It was unprofessional for 24 to let you go without a proper send off and you not saying good bye to your viewers, with that said We have terminated KSEE 24 in our household… Best wishes in the future.

*** I am also terribly sad! In fact, I am still upset that NBC took Ann Curry off the Today Show, so I started watching Good Morning America, but I still watched you & Pamela & Matt, etc. Now, I guess it will be Ch.30 & 26 only for my local news.

*** Good luck in your future endeavors ….I hate when you feel out of the loop ….was there an explanation to there viewers as to what’s going on ….they have a right to do what they do even when its so wrong ….but we as loyal viewers deserve an explanation ….goodbye ksee 24.

*** Shame on Ksee 24! Faith, you were such a joy to watch. I loved waking up to your warm and friendly smile. Your smile invites you in and it’s like sitting in the living room with your best friend just chatting about the daily events over coffee. You were my reason for choosing Ksee24. You will be missed VERY much!! Guess I’ll be searching for a new morning news show.

How interested are people in this story? After being posted on Tuesday, the Bee account of the firings is still clocking in today as one of the top read stories on the Bee site.

As I mentioned above, TV news is about personality. Stations want their anchors to feel close to the viewers. Marketing campaigns push the personality thing hard. So stations shouldn’t be surprised if viewers get angry when one of their “friends” gets the boot — and doesn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.

The bosses might say: So what’s the loss of a few Sidlow fans? But we aren’t talking about a program with hundreds of thousands of viewers. It’s hard to get current ratings numbers, but in a 2007 Nielsen report, KSEE had 11,000 viewers for its 6 a.m. weekday newscast. If 1,100 viewers get mad enough to switch stations, that would be 10% of the audience right there. The bosses make the decisions, yes, but the viewers get the final say.

In the long run, giving Sidlow and Prado a proper send-off wouldn’t have changed things for them — they’d still be out of their jobs. Just two more cost-cutting casualties. But it would have been a heck of a lot more dignified.

Responses to "Losing Faith with Channel 24"

Caroliz says:

Very nice job, Donald. I have nothing profound to add, except profound disappointment at Channel 24. And with one outside owner for two stations, we can see what’s coming – a loss for the community.

Debby says:

Faith’s smile that touched so many of her viewers will be missed. She is an expert and passionate in her field. A door closed will open a window of opportunites for Faith. Best to Faith.

Dawn Smith says:

If KSEE 24 viewers are valued so little that they are *not* informed of their TV personalities’ disappearance, why would we trust the Station to report ‘the news’??? News starts at HOME.

Marilyn Hyder says:

Nice piece and right on the money. It amazes me at the lack of common sense that goes along with these media firings and lay offs. Management is way too consumed with themselves as individuals in power. They want to cover their assets, so to speak, and evidently the popular trend is letting someone go with no thought to the persons emotional or professional impact.. I agree allowing these long time pros to say thank you and goodbye would have been proper and likely saved viewers.

jessi says:

i am an early bird i wake up really early to make sure i see Faith, Pamela, Rob and especially Matt, and just incase i might sleep in my alarm is set for 4:45 am so i will not miss ksee sunrise news, i was very upset to see that they let Pamela go one day and Faith the other there like family, i saw them more than i saw some of my family, everyday early in the morning and not to say in a good mood watching Faith with her BIG smile every morning, i do not think there was one day she came on tv without a smile, i am sure there were days she was not feeling well, but she keep it to herself ,and she never just read the news like a robot just talking, no she seem to care for her viewers, her followers, and if she goes anywhere else i will be there with her, thats what family does, i am not related to neither ladies at all but they sure made us feel like we were related, i am very upset at how they let both ladies go Faith and Pamela without even letting them say goodbye to us views, i guess we are not as important to ksee, so maybe we should not care for ksee and look somewhere else,

Jessi says:

oh and thank you so much Donald Munroe for writing a perfect article,.

IRIS LEVESQUE says:

Faith and Pam will be greatly missed. I had my coffee with them each day. My dad, RIP, watched the Today Show everyday from day 1 (I was born in NY) and always said to me as a child when watching the Today Show that you need to wake up, get some coffee and “Check in with the World.” It was true during Berlin, The Cuban Crisis, 9-!! and Katrina. Dad believed that oneday we would wake up to WWIII. He was a military man. I too have always watched Faith and Pam and the Today Show. every morning. I too think they could have been allowed to have a on air goodbye to their loyal viewers. I am sure the stations numbers will reflect how the fans feel. Good luck to Faith and Pam and I hope you have a wonderful future. Always, Iris Levesque

anonymous says:

Its true, KSEE 24 management sucks. The general manager there used to be a DJ and now that he has a desk job he thinks he can treat people like crap, even though the station has gone bankrupt 3 times over with 3 different buyout companies. I worked there as a production assistant 7 years ago. The way they treat the reporters and PA’s is dreadful.

Faith Sidlow was one of the most professional reporters there and took pride in her work; often changing the show on the fly to make it more accurate, she was constantly holding herself and her broadcast to the highest standard. There was never a day were she wasn’t attentive, productive, and wanting to give the best show she could. Working with her and Bud Elliot on the morning show was a privilege and a pleasure.

Ann Vermel says:

Thank you, Donald, for another right on piece of reporting and commentary.

Velma Onstott says:

A very well written article…in total agreement. When it comes to “down sizing”, “cutting expenses”, corporate never remembers that its dealing with actual people, they just look at the numbers and cut where they think they will save more money. We the viewers, welcome the the news station into our homes and lives and we attach them to our daily lives like they are a part of our family, like people we actually know when we refer to them about the news…so its very disappointing to learn on Facebook that these two beautiful ladies have been fired, without giving them the benefit to say good-bye to their viewers. Its a sad day, when lives/people mean nothing and money becomes the top priority.

Cindy Palermo says:

Faith was the reason I started watching 24. There was a time I enjoyed it more, when she was matched up with Colin and then Matt. Their banter was cute and enjoyable. When Bud came back it was harder to watch. Faith alone was better and I kept hoping they would add Matt back to the desk. Now that I know that the same out of the state company owns both 24 and 47, knowing how they treat their anchors and how little they care about local viewers , I am doing all I can to switch my friends and family even acquaintances to channel 26 or 30. I’m done with 24 and 47 for news.

Ward Hollesen says:

Since I spent most of my 73 years in Fresno I kind of know the history of both TV stations. Channel 24 was started and owned by McClatchy along with the Bee and KMJ Radio and Channel 47 was owned by a family by the name of Oneills and was a family operation and that was good but now they have all been sold out to these faceless creatures with no feelings of family just thinking about money and that is all. Kinda like one of our creameries by the name of Knudsen two brother investors bought it sucked the money out of it then sold it that is what this world has come to.

Paula Singer says:

I have watched Faith Sidlow and channel 24 in the morning ever since I moved to Fresno more than 20 years ago. I was shocked at the crumby way in which she was dismissed. As your article so aptly points out, while the outcome would have been the same, it would have been a better move for the station to behave in a humane manner. I am one of the many who will no longer watch channel 24 and will leave channel 47 alone, too since they are owned by the same power-hungry company. Nexstar, watch those advertising dollars go down the drain and know that you just flushed them away with your behavior.

Vicki Love says:

Nice comment on corporate America, Donald. Faith and Pamela deserved much more from their “station” than a surprise pink slip. The rot that sweeps through America at the corporate level is hard to stop. Your article reminds people that no one is safe from the corporate greed and that still the cost-cutting and job eliminations continue… no matter how the media tries to convince us that the recession is over. Corporate recession ended by as long as we allow a corproation to come into a small market such as Fresno and own not just two television stations, but two from supposedly competing networks (NBC/CBS) then the days/years of corporate barons will continue. Does the word monopoly mean anything these days (other than more money in the corporate coffers)? I use to watch the KSEE 24 morning show. I know that I will not be turning on my TV for news in the morning for now on. In fact several years ago I stopped watching the evening news. I’m done with network television all together.

Kevin Deisher says:

I understand termination especially when there are redundant positions. Sadly the new owners did so in a horrible way. I won’t be watching 24 or 47 for anything anymore. I can catch the network shows online and don’t need to support the Texas owners of KSEE and KGPE ever again.

Krista Bayless says:

I couldn’t agree more.. KSEE made a huge mistake. The management better figure out how the loyalty of their viewing community feels…before they downsize themselves right out of an audience. Mistake…BIG mistake!

Sharon Jackson says:

Sorry, I stopped watching news channels ABC CBS NBC, years ago. So agenda driven. Sorry to hear about anyone losing a job.

John Ostlund says:

Lost in all of this are the conditions that led to the consolidations and cutbacks. Locally, TV was a $100 million industry in 2007. Last year it was $60 million. Companies that invested in Fresno should be thanked for saving more jobs than they cost. As residents of Fresno, we can do this: Buy from locally owned companies, who buy advertising from local TV stations, who employ experienced journalist to provide local news. Be Local, Buy Local. And best wishes to Faith and Pam, two experienced professionals who won’t be unemployed for long.

juanita says:

I Ithink ksee 24 management has there heads in there a$$es so far they don’t know the talent they lost!

jean geller says:

I am one of the many viewers that won’t watch KSEE any longer. There wasn’t much on that station that I did watch, but I did start my morning with Faith, Pamela, Corinna, and Matt. Faith will be fine – she has lots of talents, other work and a full and wonderful life. The loss is ours, the viewers, as the quality of network programming gets thinner and thinner. Poor move, 24, your logic and handling of this was flawed and will cost more than you plannned.

pk says:

True;
Even though they are a corporate entity, they are still a local operation with employment of local people; a Brick and mortar operation, paying taxes to our County… (Much like a Macy’s)
So, no boycotting here, it does no good to the fine people here, who had no hand in these dismissals; even though we may abhor how this was handled, there are still a great group of people still hoping their numbers will increase so their jobs will remain.
Best of luck to the ladies…

Jenni says:

Trust me, reporters don’t get “paid more” for the risky nature of their job. But your instinct is right…they should!

Thomas Sinclair says:

A good move would have been to get rid of Alex Delgado! Does anyone have access to the ratings sheet?! The ratings for her show were 00. That means, her viewers are in the HUNDREDS. How is she employed when only a few hundred people in a valley of nearly 700k, watch her TV show??? Just curious…

Pete says:

Too bad a similar article like this was NOT written 6 yrs ago in regards to the equally terrible way Granite and its Auditors downsized Bud Elliott,i Stayed away as a viewer after he left.(5 1/2 yrs),only to return last year When Mr.Elliott was asked back. I intend to remain a viewer As long as Bud Elliott remains.There are no better options-never digged channel 30 and their “FIXED” ratings,47 is ho hum and Channel 26 is a joke.None have Bud Elliott-simple as that
I do hope Ms Sidlow and Ms Prado return to the local Scene in some capacity very quickly

Fire wife says:

I was shocked to read online about Faith and Pamela! I watch them every morning religiously and will now watch 26 or 30. Having worked for a large media empire, ice watched how they treat employees as numbers vs. what they really are ( community supporters, intelligent, unbiased great employees) and will no longer watch 24 or 47. Best of luck to you both! There is greener grass on the other side. Pray and God will take care of your worries!

anonymous says:

They should have been given the chance to say goodbye on air. I know it’s difficult when someone loses their job, especially when it’s somebody people are used to seeing. But I have some inside knowledge on what happened in that newsroom. Let’s just say Faith and Pamela in real life do not live up to their sugary sweet TV personas. They are both divas, difficult to work with in every sense of the word. For those in the newsroom, it was common knowledge that they were difficult to work with. TV is a business, and sometimes uncooperative personnel needs to be cut if the behavior won’t be corrected. Example: in my friend’s time on the morning show, one of these ladies showed up to work late most every morning, only to demand that the show order be switched up to suit her liking. That’s not conducive to a healthy newsroom environment. Again, sad to see them go, and they should have been given the on-air goodbye. I’m switching to 30!

Matt says:

Let’s not confuse on-air personalities with real-life ones. Apparently Ms. Sidlow/Soares-Wilson is a much different person when in the professional media world. Many of her colleagues and fellow Fresno State employees aren’t too surprised that Sidlow and her “professionalism” would not last long with new management. After working on campus a few semesters, she seemed to turn into a bit of a diva, making ridiculously trivial demands and trying to utilize her star power on a weekly basis.

Kelley says:

Thanks for the column, Donald. As usual, your observations are spot on. We expect media companies to show little regard for the men and women they employ, but to deny established anchors and reporters the opportunity to say goodbye to their viewers strikes a new low. Faith Sidlow and Pamela Prado deserved better. I am not at all surprised that their treatment by Nexstar has prompted a fierce backlash – one that KSEE-24 will not recover from easily.
As for the comments above, I’m not sure who “Matt” is. I also can’t imagine what would motivate him to make some pretty explosive and unsubstantiated claims (“many”?). What I do know is that he isn’t a member of the faculty of Fresno State’s Department of Mass Communication & Journalism. If he were, as I am, he would know that Faith Sidlow is a valued colleague whose devotion to students, passion for teaching, and commitment to strengthening the university’s broadcast journalism program are deeply appreciated. Our department is strengthened by the experience, professionalism, enthusiasm and humor Faith brings to campus every day.

Debi says:

Very sad to see how major corporations treat people. They too will end up being one of those let go one day.

Faith, we love you!

a eli says:

I as a morning News person watch all local news shows,24,26,30, 47, going back and forth to see different points of view IT IS TOTALLY DISRESPECTFUL THE WAY CHANNEL 24 TREATED THESE TWO TV PERSONALITIES!!!!! No class whatsoever by management it makes me sick to my stomach that they were treated in this manner!!!! companies and corporations expect loyalty from their employees and this is the perfect example of why their is no loyalty!!! CHANNEL 24 YOU ARE OFF MY MORNING SHOW LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rebecca Clark says:

We will no longer watch KSEE 24. The most endearing part of that show was Faith. I loved Pamela as well. I cannot watch this any more. When they keep people like Alex Delgado and layoff Faith, give me a break. They did not know the jewel that they had or just did not care.
I only hope for the best for both Faith and Pamela. They can keep Corina and Matt, although I do like Matt, but he cannot hold the show together.
15 years I have watched -faithfully. Good by ksee 24, cant say i will miss you, unless you bring back Faith and Pamela.
Becky Clark

Patricia Brown JD says:

It is now August 23rd. I assumed Faith was on vacation and turned on Corina and Matt waiting, waiting for Faith’s return. So, I googled her today only to discover she was fired. Can the new owners be that stupid? Can they be so uncaring that they left long time viewers like myself in the dark? 23 years I’ve watched 24 and have looked forward to seeing Faith’s smart, genuine coverage every morning. How Faith went, thus goes the viewership of 24–without fanfare. The new owners can eat our dust.

Rosemary Ortiz says:

I miss faith and Pamela

Dam corporate bosses no chance to say good bye can u please post the names so if I see on the street I would love to give them my two cent
If they leave in the Fresno area but if they don’t how dare u take the lady’s out or are lives.

Carl Butler says:

Retired, left the state. Continued to watch the show for 4 years online. Still upsetting to wife and I. Hope Faith is doing well. Still reading Bee on the net.

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