WTSP hires new faces for morning show, even as parent Gannett brings more cutbacks
Even as employees there are scheduling their second round of week-long furloughs without pay, St. Petersburg CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 is adding faces to its morning show in a bold effort to reverse a historically underperforming timeslot.
Most recently, Danielle Saar, a reporter at KKTV in Colorado Springs, is coming to CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 on April 13 to serve as the station's new traffic anchor.
Saar, 26, was a "one-man-band" journalist in Colorado Springs, reporting and filming stories herself in a trend sweeping smaller stations looking to curb costs.
But at WTSP, she will join new hire Keith Jones and longtime morning face Ginger Gadsden behind the anchor desk in an amped-up program news director Darren Richards describes as resembling "a very good morning drive (radio) show" with "more energy and excitement than shows we've had in the past or seen from the competition."
Given that rivals WTVT-Ch. 13 and WFLA-Ch. 8 have historically dominated mornings -- and WTSP doesn't get much help from CBS's often sagging Early Show -- growth in this period is going to be an uphill battle. But Richards is encouraged that he's getting some resources to improve the program and remains hopeful their 10Connects approach will garner some new eyeballs.
But one reason Richards was talking to me about this rather than marketing/PR guru Pete Nikiel this morning, is because Nikiel just started his pay-less furlough -- part of WTSP owner Gannett Co.'s effort to save money while limiting pay cuts and avoiding even more extensive layoffs.
Just another reminder of the challenges every news organization is facing these days.