KESQ Buys KPSP, Leaves Many Without Jobs
PALM DESERT- A shakeup in the local television market as KPSP and KESQ have merged into one company.
A number of employees were laid off this morning.
Jim and Jackie Lee Houston owned KPSP but Jackie Lee's recent death led to the decision to sell the t-v station. A decision that shocked employees, many of whom were let go Tuesday morning.
A locksmith re-keys the doors to the KPSP studio, at least 30 percent of the staff without a job. Employees called into a meeting Tuesday morning and told to pack up and leave immediately. KPSP now owned by Gulf-California, parent company of former competitor KESQ.
"We wish we could have retained more but we took as many as we could," General Manager of KESQ, Mike Stutz said.
Employees at KPSP say they were blindsided by the merger.
"Everyone starts to become part of your family," said former KPSP Reporter Keli Moore. "You go to work, you work in a very stressful environment with a lot of deadlines and you lean on each other and everyone becomes part of your family so to say goodbye to them so abruptly it hurts and made it a very sad day."
General manager of KESQ Mike Stutz, says 70 percent of KPSP'S news staff still have jobs. Stutz plans on operating two news stations with shared resources.
"It's a business transaction," Stutz said. "Look these kinds of situations are never something that anybody wants to go through and unfortunately its something that in our business sometimes has to happen."
The decision to sell KPSP comes after the passing of Jackie Lee Houston. Her husband, who was present Tuesday morning when the announcement was made said:
"In addition to its excellent local news commitment, the station has made a tremendous contribution to the non-profit community of the Coachella Valley. With her passing, we have now made the difficult decision to find a new owner for our television operation"
A difficult decision that unfortunately left many staff members out of the deal and out of a job.
The merger takes effect immediately, keep it here on KMIR6.com for the very latest.