About 20 NWCN employees will lose their jobs amid declining ratings as parent company KING tries to reach an audience that increasingly gets its news online.
Northwest Cable News, the channel that built an always-on, CNN-like news outlet for the Pacific Northwest, is set to go off the air early next year.
The channel’s last day will be Jan. 6, said Jim Rose, general manager of Seattle’s KING Broadcasting, NWCN’s parent.
About 20 jobs at NWCN will be eliminated, including producers, editors and on-air roles, Rose said. He said he anticipated finding new roles within the company for about half of those employees.
KING is the physical home for NWCN and is one of the stations that contributes to the 24-hour channel. The planned shutdown was reported earlier by FTVLive, a website that tracks TV news.
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In addition to KING, NWCN draws content from Portland’s KGW, Spokane’s KREM and Boise, Idaho-based KTVB. All are owned by the McLean, Va., media company TEGNA.
Rose said NWCN’s viewership had declined over time, a trend that he said also hit other regional news channels. An expiring contract with cable companies was also a factor, he said.
The television industry is struggling to adapt to viewers’ changing habits as people increasingly get news and other video content from online portals like Netflix and Hulu, as well as social-media sites, instead of TV broadcasts.
“When it comes to media consumption, it’s very tumultuous,” Rose said. “Consumers are changing, and we have to change with them. As much as I know and love NWCN, I know there’s more of my audience residing in digital than NWCN.”
KING earlier this year conducted a round of buyouts that saw a number of veteran members of the news staff, including anchors Dennis Bounds and Jean Enersen, leave the station.
TEGNA, formerly known as Gannett before the media conglomerate last year split its newspaper assets into a separate company, bought KING and NWCN in the 2013 acquisition of Belo Corp. NWCN launched in 1995.