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Springfield, MO

SBJ confirms 37 layoffs at KY3, KSPR

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Last edited 3 p.m., Aug. 21, 2017

KY3, KSPR and the Ozarks CW reorganized on Aug. 18, resulting in the loss of 37 jobs, Springfield Business Journal confirmed.

The changes were signaled Aug. 17, when employees started receiving text messages from News Director Scott Brady asking them to come to mandatory meetings the next day, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Employees who attended the earliest meetings were led to the office of KY3 Inc. General Manager Brian McDonough, who was visibly upset as he explained the termination and severance package processes. An armed guard was on hand, the source said, and empty boxes awaited fired employees for them to carry their property out of the building.

Those laid off, confirmed on social media, include on-air talent such as 17-year anchor Jerry Jacob and Tom Mast, whose career has spanned 30 years. News Director Brady had 31 years experience, with nine at KY3. Online news producers Gene Hartley and Jeff Phillips have been in television production since 1979 and 1989, respectively. Scott Puryear has been in jounalism since 1985 and at KY3 since 2016. Greg Haney was an information technology engineer who had been with KY3 since 2009.

A manila envelope given to each person included a list of 35 people who were laid off and two who agreed to leave voluntarily, the source said. About 90 people are listed as staying with the company. Each person’s age and job title also was listed, in accordance with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. Two former employees told SBJ they were asked not to make disparaging comments about the company in connection with the severance package.

A news release issued Friday indicated KY3, KSPR and the Ozarks CW consolidated newsrooms at 999 W. Sunshine St., but didn’t mention any layoffs. In fact, McDonough claimed the new structure would allow for better coverage.

“We will double the number of people on our staff who are actively pursuing local news stories on a daily basis,” he said in the release.

McDonough and officials with parent company Gray Television Inc. (NYSE: GTN) did not return calls for comment.

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John

It would be nice to have local news stories rather than repeating coverage of news stations not anywhere in our viewing area. Some times there will be 10+ stories from places like Florida, Illinois, California and maybe a local story that has been covered previously. Seems like lazy journalism rather to me. There are good and bad things happening here all the time we don't need to know about a fire in St. Louis or a shooting in Virginia. I look forward to seeing local news, I hope. It would also be nice to see news where the anchors could actually read the teleprompter.

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