After a decade of trying to build advertising support for local news on KNAZ-TV Flagstaff, AZ, Gannett is throwing in the towel. The last local newscast will be this Friday, August 15th, after which the station will become a full-time simulcast of sister KPNX-TV Phoenix. Both are NBC affiliates.
“This was a very difficult decision for us to come to,” said KPNX/KNAZ President & GM John Misner in a news report posted on the KNAZ website. “As a free over-the-air television station, we depend on advertising support from the local community in order to pay the bills. Unfortunately, we have not been able to generate that level of support during the decade that we have owned this television station,” he explained. The station also noted that an increasing number of people in Northern Arizona are switching to satellite TV providers, which do not carry the Flagstaff station on their local-to-local services in the Phoenix DMA. Nielsen considers Flagstaff part of the Phoenix DMA.
KNAZ said employees are being offered severance packages or positions at other Gannett stations. “Whether you’re talking about folks in front of the camera or behind the scenes, we’re really proud of the work that they’ve done here in Flagstaff. At the same time, we had to make a business decision,” Misner said.
KPNX will be establishing a news bureau in Flagstaff to cover Northern Arizona.