KARK, KNWA Owner Nexstar Cuts Staff at Utah Station

TVSpy reports today that Nexstar Broadcasting of Irving, Texas -- which owns Arkansas NBC affiliates KARK-TV in Little Rock and KNWA-TV in Fayetteville and MyNetworkTV affiliate KARZ-TV in Little Rock -- has laid off staff at two newly acquired stations in Utah, KTVX (ABC) and KUCW (CW):

The Salt Lake City Tribune put the number laid off at 15.

“That’s probably a good guess,” said Dan Metcalf, KTVX’s now-former film critic and executive producer of online media to the Tribune. “I was No. 5 this morning, and there were others behind me.”

The Tribune also reports the station’s accounting, research and traffic departments had been eliminated and will be handled by other Nexstar sites.

The two stations are part of a package of stations that Nexstar, in partnership with Mission Broadcasting, purchased from Newport Television in July. That deal for Newport stations also included Little Rock Fox affiliate KLRT-TV, Channel 16, and CW affiliate KASN-TV, Channel 38.

As our media reporter Kate Knable noted last summer, that purchase effectively gives control of four central Arkansas TV stations to Nexstar.

It also has local media watchers -- and station employees -- wondering how Nexstar might manage its new Little Rock properties, particularly KARK and KLRT, which have competing local news broadcasts and staffs. Are "shared services agreements" and "local marketing agreements" -- like the ones described in this May New York Times story -- in the cards for central Arkansas TV stations?

No one at Nexstar is talking now, but we'll certainly stay tuned.

(Disclosure: Per a content-sharing arrangement between our companies, I make regular appearances on CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, news programming, which competes with KLRT and KARK.)