The face of KNBC news is changing dramatically. At least five veteran newscasters at Los Angeles NBC owned KNBC have accepted “voluntary early retirement” buyouts and will leave the station at the end of the year, sources confirmed to Deadline.
Evening news co-anchor Chuck Henry, along with longtime reporters Beverly White, Vikki Vargas, Angie Crouch and Kim Baldonado, accepted the voluntary buyouts that were presented to some staff members earlier this year in the hope of avoiding layoffs.
NBCUniversal has been undergoing dramatic cost-cutting, as have other television stations industrywide, due to fears of a possible recession in 2023, an expected advertising downturn and other factors.
Six people in ad sales, public relations and at KNBC’s sister Telemundo station, KVEA-TV Channel 52, learned they were part of layoffs that were unavoidable, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the exits.
KNBC declined comment.
Vargas, the station’s Orange County bureau chief, announced her retirement on social media Wednesday night. “I didn’t want the feeling in my heart to get lost in the written word,” Vargas wrote, “so I decided to announcement my retirement transition this way, marking both an end and the beginning.”
In an emotional video, Vargas said “I hope to take the skill of storytelling and maybe use it for the greater good, whatever that looks like, but mostly I thank you for being part of this, with me for 40 years. Forty years.” You can watch it below.
Henry joined KNBC in 1994 and has worked alongside co-anchor Colleen Williams for more than a decade. He won multiple Emmys for his work on Eye On LA. He started his career in 1966 at a station in Honolulu and went on to work for NBC affiliates in Anchorage, Alaska and Chicago before his move to Los Angeles.
White joined KNBC in 1992 as a general assignment reporter and has specialized in covering breaking news for the station. She was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the National Assn. of Black Journalists four years ago.
Vargas, who has been with NBC since 1982, received a lifetime achievement award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition. She reported on some of the most high-profiles stories including the 1981 release of the American hostages in Iran, the opening of the Richard Nixon presidential library and the Northridge earthquake.
Emmy winner Crouch joined KNBC in 2004. She has covered a range of stories including the inauguration of President Obama, the Michael Jackson death investigation and California mudslides, among others.
Baldonado has been with KNBC since 1995, moving from KCAL TV. She won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for her work on the half-hour special “LAUSD: Battle for Control,” and Los Angeles-area Emmy Awards for live news coverage, social issues and education. Her other honors include 5 Golden Mikes and an Associated Press Mark Twain Award. She is a member of the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists.
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