The Californian reports that Temecula's television station, KZSW, laid off much of its staff, and is now down to 10 employees...
Chief executive Kevin Page said the 20 or so layoffs, two-thirds of the station's work force, followed a recognition that KZSW hadn't attracted as many viewers or advertisers as he had hoped. A market study the station commissioned last summer suggested that about 4 percent of residents had watched the station in areas that have access to a fiber-optic television network that covers most of Southwest County. The station may have somewhat stronger viewership in the Menifee area, which is covered by a separate cable provider.KZSW had its chance to boost viewership during the firestorms that burned across Fallbrook, Rice Canyon, and Anza last Fall, but the cities of Temecula and Murrieta never did anything to get KZSW into the homes of its residents.
I remember watching KZSW during the firestorms through Mediacom Cable here in Menifee, and they did indeed ran a lot of coverage. KZSW is now available from Verizon FIOS, and Time Warner Cable, but it's too late. The firestorms are over, and now KZSW has to wait for another big break.
Obviously, the station is running out of advertisers, as that's the big source of income. Though they may also earn syndication fees from cable and satellite providers, it's still the advertising that runs the station.
Ben Jacobs (who runs MenifeeLive.com) and I would meet together over lunch and just admire the way businesses flocked to KZSW to buy commericial air time, without knowing the return on investment. It's such a tiny station, with nary an audience, and no means to measure that audience (they're too small to buy Neilsen ratings). Yet for whatever reason, businesses believed that buying commercial air time on KZSW was a great idea, just because it was a television station.
I think businesses are now figuring this out, and is why KZSW can't take itself to the next level.
I'd like to see KZSW relaunch itself as a local website, with news, bloggers, forums, photo journals, along with locally produced videos from its staff and amateurs. What a great way to steal attention from newspapers, and to strengthen their brand during this time.