SYRACUSE -- Even though it's not related to radio (well, it could be, but we'd have to make some awfully long, historic stretches), it's still a pretty big story. Trusted sources tell CNYRadio.com two Syracuse TV stations may be joining forces, in a move that includes one station shutting down its news department.
Our sources say rumors of the "merger" (though it's not really a merger) between WSTM Channel 3 (NBC) and WTVH Channel 5 (CBS) have been floating around town for several weeks. But now, there's talk of what our source called "serious" staff meetings at both stations next week, perhaps as early as Monday morning.
We're told the arrangement will ultimately result in WTVH closing down its building at 980 James Street. The news department will reportedly be shuttered, and all other operations will be moved into the WSTM building, a block away at 1030 James Street. (Which itself, used to be the studios for WSYR-AM, and is a few doors down from Citadel's cluster -- so there, we made our radio connections! Oh, one more: WTVH morning anchor Keith Kobland moonlights as a DJ on Sunny 102 [WZUN] and Chief Meterologist Tom Hauf supplies forecasts for Movin 100.3/96.5.)
It's not clear whether any WTVH personalities would be absorbed into WSTM's newsroom, or if they would all be given pink slips. It's also unclear exactly how many employees from WTVH's other departments could be left jobless if the rumors pan out.
The transaction would technically not be a merger (to the best of our knowledge), because the two stations will still be owned by two separate entities. It's unclear whether this arrangement will be officially considered an LMA or something else; no documents about any deal involving the two stations or their owners were available on the FCC website as of Friday evening.
Important Disclaimer: while we deeply trust our sources, the above has not been confirmed by officials at either station. We will continue to update this story as we learn more. We will remove the story if we learn it is not true. Employees at either station are invited to keep us in the loop on the developments. As always, we'll keep your name out of it -- and if you're really paranoid, you don't even have to provide your name.