KATV Lays Off Anchor Cary Martin

by Carl D. Holcombe  on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2004 11:33 am  

KATV-TV, Channel 7, laid off news anchor Cary Martin on Tuesday.

Martin in January had moved to the 5 p.m. newscast time slot with Kate Sullivan and Scott Inman, as part of a shift to part-time employment. Martin wanted to focus more on Little Rock Tours, a business he owns with wife Gina, a former KATV reporter.

"I just came back from an eight-day vacation [in Hawaii] and found out I had already worked my last day," Martin said. "So, it was kind of a surprise, although I had planned to eventually move [to the tourism business] full-time. There are no hard feelings."

KATV news director Randy Dixon declined to comment, calling the situation a personnel matter. Jim Hays, KATV's promotions director since 2001, has also recently left the station.

Martin, 36, had been on the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts until early 2004, when longtime anchor Karen Fuller left. Martin started at KATV in 2000, having left WKRC-TV in Cincinnati to replace John Overall on the anchor desk.

KATV officials blamed budget cuts for the move, Martin said. And sources close to KATV said presidential election spending had slowed. The John Kerry presidential campaign reduced spending about two months ago.

Dale Nicholson, KATV's station manager, has in the past cut positions when ad revenue slips.

In 2001, when national automobile advertising dipped, Nicholson eliminated four positions and laid off five employees, including a part-time spot.

Nicholson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Martin said his tour business just acquired a second bus this week and began turning profit within a few months of its February 2003 launch.

From 1997-99, Martin worked at WCMH-TV at Columbus, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Martin. He had been working without a contract since the expiration of his last contract.

Martin and photographer Scott Munsell recently won an Emmy from the National Television Academy's Mid-America chapter for Investigative reporting for a multi-part series on the controversial issue of ambulance service and rerouting to different hospitals. The series has been nominated for a national Emmy.



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