CBS lays off staff, including Chicago’s CBS 2

More than a dozen staffers let go, including longtime investigative reporter Pam Zekman 

[Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.] 

Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Pam Zekman was one of a dozen staffers let go at CBS-owned WBBM-TV Wednesday as parent company ViacomCBS made 300 to 400 layoffs at CBS Entertainment Group.  

It appears CBS 2 bore the brunt of the layoffs, first reported by Robert Feder. Among the names released were news anchor Erin Kennedy, sports anchor Megan Mawicke, reporters Mai Martinez and Mike Puccinelli and meteorologist Megan Glaros. 

Other CBS-owned station layoffs announced thus far was Baltimore reporter Mike Schuh and Pat Warren, who were laid off at WJZ-TV; KDKA in Pittsburgh laid off anchors Susan Koeppen and Rick Dayton; and KCBS/KCAL laid off anchors Jeff Michael and Sharon Kay, and meteorologist Garth Kemp.  Like CBS 2 here, KCBS ranks at the bottom of the news ratings while WJZ and KDKA each top the competition in their respective markets.

Philadelphia’s KYW-TV also laid off more than a dozen people. CBS News was also hard hit, including longtime correspondent Dean Reynolds. 

The layoffs come as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated advertising revenue, falling as much by half – and even more in some cases as businesses closed and slashed their ad budgets. Radio has been hit the hardest as iHeartMedia, Cumulus, and Hubbard have all have either furloughed or laid off staff locally in the last two months. Outside of station group owner Tegna, most television broadcasting companies have been spared – until now. Viacom and CBS re-combined last year after spitting apart in 2005 as Viacom and CBS Corporation, respectively. 

CBS has always had a reputation for layoffs and cutting costs, starting in the mid-1980s under former owner Larry Tisch, who took control of the company at the time. Wednesday’s action comes to mind a similar layoff by CBS in 2008, on the brink of the Great Recession. Another huge layoff made by CBS in 1996 saw seven anchors and reporters from New York’s WCBS-TV fired in a story that made the front page of the New York Post. 

Last year, CBS 2 cut Marissa Bailey and Rob Johnson. 

The move by CBS 2 ends a long run for Zekman, who joined WBBM as an investigative reporter in 1981 at a time when the station dominated the local news ratings, led by anchors Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson. Even though the station has been numerous eras (including a tabloid TV), Zekman’s investigative reports were always must-see TV. Before joining WBBM, Zekman worked at the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times and won two Pulitzer prizes. 

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30 responses to CBS lays off staff, including Chicago’s CBS 2

  1. Beverly parisella

    Good ridsnce Megan glaros! And her weather watchers that did nothing about the weather
    All she did was promote business for her friends-Nancy addie and Elton eisley. Got free advertising. For Nancy addies bed and breakfast – almost every day!!
    She can go fluff her hair and advertise someone else somewhere else
    Weather watchers was a joke!!!
    Should have been dropped long ago!

  2. doug denunzio

    in terms of being late to the judge is not what this is about because of what could happen when i come there, it depends what answer happens with march 16th with jocylene’s schedule in german.

  3. Sandi

    Horrible move!! I will no longer watch CBS morning news. Megan and Erin made my morning!!

  4. Jeanie

    Why you would get rid of the best anchors you have is beyond Me! I have already found another news channel to watch in the morning!!! I will NEVER watch CBS news again. You keep the most benign personalities over the ones that people look forward to seeing! Whoever made this decision sucks!!!

  5. Audrey

    I completely agree with Sandi and Jeanie. Erin and Megan made the start to my day brighter. Audrina does a daily hairstyle show, Rob can’t find a suit that fits and Yasmeen looks like a windmill waving her hands around. And getting rid of Pam Zekman – biggest bone-head move EVER!!! Award-winning reporter tossed out like the trash. What virus did management catch at CBS?

  6. Catherine Murphy

    I won’t watch CBS for news or weather any more. Bring back all your great reporters. Funny you kept the new hires. I guess the 2 Pulitzers earned by Pam Zekman don’t mean anything. You are a second rate network because you dismiss first rate staff.

  7. Rochell Hazelett

    I’m a dedicated viewer of CBS News or I use to be from 8th grade (14 yrs old) to the present (age 60). You got rid of Marissa, Bailey, Rob Johnson, Erin Kennedy, Mike Puccinelli, Meagan Glaros,, and Pam Zekeman, Derrick C Young; All favorites of mine. I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am in the decisions that you guys have made. You won’t stay on the air long without the personalities that you just got rid of. For the 1st time ever I have to find another station to watch. So sad! So! So! Bad!

  8. Anonymous

    Erin and Megan were the best part of my morning!!!
    I will no longer watch CBS.
    I can’t wait to watch them where they land.

  9. R E Rinker

    Bad moves on management’s part. I like Megan Glaros; Pam Zekman, awesome investigator; Marissa Bailey, a breath of fresh air, not the ubiquitous size 0!

    I’ve had all I can take of Brad Edwards’ whiney, exaggerated “Chicago” accent.

    I’ve been watching CBS local news at 5:00 pm and NBC for 10:00 pm. Now, it will be NBC all the way!

  10. Joanne

    You got rid of Erin and Megan and kept Yasmin….really???
    What we’re you thinking??
    Dollars, I’m sure!!
    Already have a new morning channel!

    • They kept Yasmine? Oh no she looks
      so bad! She is so skinny all we can see is her bones, she need to wear long sleeves
      But it doesn’t matter, already switched
      to different channel!

  11. CAO

    Erin and Megan made my mornings. I’m disgusted with the moves at CBS made. Well I guess they don’t care that I’ll never watch them again. They were professional they were positive and I hope I find them on another Chicago station sooN!!!
    Who watches CBS any more

  12. Beth

    So disappointed. They got rid of the best people in their staff. So goodbye to CBS and hello to ABC. Tracy Butler is great too! CBS needs to get rid of the person that is getting rid of all the good employees. Wouldn’t that be carma!

  13. Anonymous

    the other channels to watch the rest are a joke

  14. Won’t be watching CBS News anymore.

  15. what kind of idiots do they have running cbs. I will never a news program on cbs again hope there ratings go down to 000

  16. Sam Burnett

    So sad you got rid of rick dayton and susan koeppin best news anchor you had kdka – you keep kristine sorenson she the worst anchor in the history of KDKA

    • Ronald

      Wow….Yes, I disagree with many of these decisions by CBS. But folks. Come on. Those of you who have to criticize how someone physically LOOKS on the air? Instead of whether they were actually doing their jobs well, you say they are ugly? Too skinny? How absolutely embarrassing and offensive YOU are in such words.

  17. Jim Giovannetti

    I definitely will miss Megan Glaros and her beautiful smile and refreshing sense of humor. She was always professional and gave us the straight facts. It is amazing to me that CBS national recognized her talents but locally she was taken for granted. Megan I hope you land on your feet soon!

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