CBS46 plans 40+ person expansion of newsroom

ajc.com

New owner Gray Television, based in Atlanta, has ambitious plans since it purchased the station in December.

Atlanta-based Gray Television is in the midst of a massive expansion of the CBS46 newsroom since it took over in December.

The company is planning to add at least 40 more people to the Midtown operation in the coming months when all openings are filled. Gray, for competitive reasons, won’t say how many people are currently in the newsroom but it was around 50 to 60 people when Meredith Corp. owned the station.

Based on openings listed on Indeed, Gray’s CBS46 (WGCL-TV) and its sister station Peachtree TV (WPCH-TV) have 24 positions posted. Among the jobs: local news reporters, multimedia journalists, news producers, assignment editor, a technical media producer, photojournalist and statewide reporter.

The station recently hired a managing editor under news director, a position that has not been filled since 2017.

“We’ve studied the head count in relationship to the number of hours of news we want to do and also in relationship to how we can best tell the stories in Atlanta,” said general manager Erik Schrader. “With that in mind, we plan to add over 40 people to the news department, which will constitute a sizeable jump relative to our head count under Meredith.”

The station for many years under Meredith was frequently third or fourth place in ratings in most dayparts, far behind leaders Channel 2 Action News (WSB-TV) and Fox 5 (WAGA-TV). It also suffered from frequent management changes, questionable hires, shifting strategies and slogans and high staff turnover.

Combined ShapeCaption
CBS46 welcomes Monica Pearson with bus and digital billboards. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTR

CBS46 welcomes Monica Pearson with bus and digital billboards. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTR

Combined ShapeCaption
CBS46 welcomes Monica Pearson with bus and digital billboards. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTR

Credit: CONTR

Since Gray took over, CBS46 has already added a 9 a.m. newscast, replacing “The 700 Club,” and a 3 p.m. newscast, replacing “The Dr. Oz Show.” Management hired former WSB-TV anchor Monica Pearson, who retired from that station in 2012 after 37 years, to host two new shows on Peachtree TV and have begun running billboard ads with her face on it.

The station has already added about a dozen new employees the past three months as part of this unprecedented hiring spree, a spokeswoman said.

“They are being very competitive and understand winning will not happen overnight, but consistent good reporting and investigative work will slowly but surely pay off,” Pearson said. “You will see more community involvement too. The energy in the newsroom is amazing.”

CBS46 lists 28 local on-air staff on its website, which only encompasses part of its staff. Fox 5, which airs more local news than any other station in the market, has 48; WSB-TV and 11Alive both list 37.

Michael Castengera, a former UGA lecturer and broadcast TV news consultant for 20 years who is now retired, said Gray has always had a good reputation though its primary focus before the Meredith purchase was smaller metro areas.

“This is their home market,” he said. “It will be their emblem market. They want this sucker to succeed. Under Meredith, the station was always underfunded. People would join the station only because they wanted to be in Atlanta, not because they wanted to be at CBS46. That is changing.”