KCOY Underground asking viewers to boycott

January 31, 2012

By KAREN VELIE

The KCOY Underground is asking viewers to boycott KCOY News in February as part of an attempt to force the station  back to local broadcasting and make a change in ownership.

In early January, KCOY laid off meteorologist Jim Byrne and 12 others. Many news staffers were replaced with the company’s Salinas news team, which now covers both Salinas and the Central Coast.

The Cowles California Media Company eliminated local sports. And while the morning news is still live from Santa Maria, the evening news is anchored in Salinas.

“To let KION (the company’s Salinas station ) know how much we don’t like the new format, boycott KCOY in February to hurt their ratings,” KCOY Underground tweeted on Jan. 17. “Spread the word.”

The Cowles family, which owns the stations, has been criticized for using their media empire to promote the Cowles family’s commercial real estate projects, while striving to extract as much revenue from their companies as possible.

The group has questioned why, at a time the KCOY team had recently brought the station to the top of the market, Cowles media group laid off 13 people.

In December, Paul Dughi, president of Cowles California Media, sent an email to employees and Besty Cowles,  chairman of Cowles California Media and Cowles Company, saying there would be profound changes in the industry, and those unwilling to make changes could be left behind.

In announcing the staffing changes in January, Dughi told the staffs of KCOY, KION and KCBA a drop in revenue was responsible for the elimination of the positions.

Dughi did not say that the station was losing money, but that expenses were up and revenues were down. He pointed to higher costs for the NFL, March Madness and prime time programming.

KCOY was at the top of the market at the time of the layoffs, the Underground said. The Underground questioned why Cowles California Media would change staff members responsible for the recent rise in the market.

Dughi contends that the changes expand reporting by freeing up former anchors to report.

“To sum it up, the rumors that we are getting out of the local news business are flat wrong,” Dughi said in a Jan. 4 email to all personnel. “We are, however, reinventing the way we do it. This is a bold step to define the future and give our stations the best chance for success.”

In Spokane, Wash., the Cowles family dominates the media, owning the Spokeman-Review, the area’s lone newspaper, and the Spokane television station. Reporters who have worked for the Cowles family have lamented for years that the family rewrites articles before they go to print in order to promote their other business endeavors.

For years, The Spokane-Review reported on the construction of a parking garage that was being added to a local mall.

Stories about the parking garage construction project were primarily positive in the mid- and late 90s, but in 2006 a wall collapsed killing a woman. An investigation showed that the concrete had not been properly inspected and was of poor quality. The alleged illicit inspection process was not included in Cowles’ news stories.

The Washington News Council, an independent, nonprofit organization whose members share a common belief that fair, accurate and balanced news media are vital to democracy, performed an independent analysis of the Spokane-Review’s role in the parking garage development project.

The analysis report detailed how family members would instruct editors to rewrite articles to favor the family’s construction plans. It noted the “paper’s longstanding ‘no surprises’ policy, permitting Stacey Cowles, and sometimes Betsy Cowles, to review and direct the editing of stories that involved the family and its enterprises.” Stacey Cowles is Betsy Cowles’ brother and the publisher of the Spokane-Review.

The KCOY Underground is pushing the boycott to take away the Cowles’ ownership of the station.


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Russ J

You mean like occupy KCOY? If like to watch – then watch. If you don’t, then don’t. Why have a tantrum cause your favorite guy got canned? It’s a business. I’m still crying over Evelyn Taft’s departure.


SLOChildrenAtPlay

I’m suprised that Lois Capps didn’t fire off a letter to Cowles media asking for them to keep the locally produced newscast. She sure feinged concern when KPMR in Santa Maria ended it’s local spanish language news broadcasts.


Sure let’s you know who she “represents.”


WiseGuy

As far as I can tell, the very honorable Lois Capps did NOT “feign” anything. She continues to be one of the best, most responsive and accessible and honest congressional representatives those in her district have ever had. Besides, why should you expect that she would personally let YOU know about every letter she writes. No offense, but your attitude reeks of arrogance and meanness and misdirected frustration.


danika

“honest congressional representative” is oxymoronic.


Coaster

I wasn’t aware of KCOY until they snagged Tony.


pasoparent5

And when they snagged Tony, I became unaware of them.


SewerHeightsRez

“You can’t make a man understand something if his salary depends on him not understaning”.


High six fig salaries for good hair and the ability to read never made rational sense despite their belief in their own wonderfulness. Unfortunately circumstances must become extreme to shake most people awake from the delusions that become everyday reality.


r0y

I just have to chuckle at the sheer idiocy of this boycott idea. The whole reason they consolidated was because of poor ratings / low advertising (they are linked, you know).


So, to teach them a lesson, let’s lower their ratings? Wow. How about these boycotters form their own media company and give it a shot! Maybe buy out the KCOY holdings from the “evil conglomerate” that owns it?


Sheesh.


SewerHeightsRez

What is a KCOY?


Slowerfaster

Break up the media conglomerates. Return to the rules where there was no co-ownership of print and electronic media allowed.


As for a boycott ? The only way to adequately make it effective is to boycott the advertisers …and to tell them so.


rogerfreberg

Oh, the demographics aren’t working for any of the traditional media… tv… radio or print. They will fade in time no need to hurry things along.


Slowerfaster

Crepe-hangers and fascists go hand-in-hand.


WHAT A SOURPUSS !


Black_Copter_Pilot

I am happy to continue my 20 year boycott of KCOY. I have heard r reliable sources refer to their news as “The Amature Half-hour.”