KOMO World is in suspended animation; employees are in a deep malaise.
A common thread with the KOMO people we've talked to is that the news talk station is doing OK at the moment, but they worry about the future. "We've got a lot of great people here, but we're just drifting along while KIRO makes all the changes."
There's a reason why there's no big picture stategizing for the 101-year-old Seattle company
The takeover reflects the Board's long-brewing dismay with the many reversals of fortunes for the company, not the least of which are in the shrunken, long-neglected radio section.
A claque led by the excellent self-preservationist CEO Colleen Brown is seen by us and many others as having led the company down any number of rabbit holes, not the least of which is a white elephantine, multi-million dollar building in downtown Seattle, they neither can make pencil nor sell-off.
(What Brown and her teevee-centric management let happen to their radio stations was a mortal sin: they let KTTH steal Rush Limbaugh from KVI, and a let a seminal talk radio franchise, and market leader slide into oblivion. When KIRO stole back the Mariners, the handwriting was on the wall. KOMO radio was the deciding. KOMO radio was what took the hometown flour mill to a successful media company. They forgot who brung 'em to the dance, and threw million$ away buying teevee stations in far-flung places at "the wrong time and the wrong price.")
A KOMO radio staffer says: "We're thinking we'd be better off if we got sold, maybe somebody upstairs might give a shit."
What could a sell-off look like? Maybe not so good for employees. KOMO, KVI, and Star 101, could be turned into Clear Channel robot stations with more syndication and even fewer local staffers.
Barry Lucas, a Wall Street analyst associated with one of the dissident investor groups told the Seattle Times that in "the long term, regardless of this proxy fight's outcome, the industry has 'too many independent broadcast companies' without the scale to lower corporate overhead and bargain effectively with the networks."
So who do your root for? The local company struggling to keep its independence and its crummy management? Or the Wall Street hedge-funders who will almost certainly sell-off part or all of the company to the highest bidder in a bad sellers' market?
Guess we're rooting for the local company: with the vague, desperate, and probably silly hope that one day Colleen Brown & Co. will pull their collective dick out of Fisher Communications and let it be great again.