KCTV Vice President and General Manager Bobby Totsch has shaken up the Meredith-owned station almost from the day he came to Kansas City in 2010 after spending several years at St. Louis’s KMOV-TV as its director of sales and marketing.
Totsch put together local shows on the Kansas City Zoo and another aimed at the Hispanic community. The station began reading obituaries. He brought in his own news director.
The station had outsourced its sports duties to Metro Sports for several years prior to his arrival, but Totsch promptly hired Sports Director Michael Coleman and brought sports back in-house at the CBS affiliate. He disbanded the station’s investigative team.
Totsch wasn’t done making changes…
In November of last year he made the controversial decision not to renew the contract of veteran meteorologist Katie Horner, who had been with the station for about 23 years. She was promptly replaced with Chris Suchan from WTSP in St. Petersburg, FL. She is now in real estate .
While the jury is still out on all those moves and the station is a solid second to KMBC in the market, there is little doubt his ongoing shake-up of the morning anchor teams at KCTV has been a disaster.
That trend continues to reverberate with the news that veteran Matt Stewart will be leaving the station entirely after his brief time as a morning co-anchor.
For years viewers had become very comfortable with KCTV’s veteran morning anchor team of Chris Pisano and Dana Wright, and their chemistry was clearly evident.
However, Totsch sent the popular Pisano packing and moved Wright into a reporting role. She later departed KCTV completely for a talk radio show on KMBZ..
In April 2010, Greg Adaline and Kelly Jones were brought in as the new morning anchors for “More In The Morning” to replace Pisano and Wright. The ratings were disastrous, and KCTV promptly let Adaline go after about a year. Stewart was quickly moved into the co-anchor role.
In May of this year KCTV announced it was bringing in Alexis Del Cid, the morning show and noon show co-anchor at Portland CBS affiliate KOIN-TV the past eight years, to co-anchor KCTV’s “It’s Your Morning.” Del Cid will officially start August 1.
With Del Cid’s arrival Jones was given a high-profile position as host of a new lifestyle show on the CBS affiliate that will debut in September. Stewart did not fare as well and will be departing the station effective August 2.
“The station has decided to bring in a brand new morning anchor team, and it’s unfortunate I will be leaving KCTV5 after 8 years of hard work and loyal service,” Stewart told Bottom Line in an exclusive interview. ”I will miss many of my co-workers, and I wish them the best in the future.”
Stewart began his career as a photographer at WOWT-TV in Omaha. Before coming to Kansas City, he was a reporter/anchor at KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa, KHGI-TV in Kearney, Neb., and WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio. He has collected several awards for his reporting, including Associated Press honors in both Nebraska and Ohio. He also received Emmy recognition for spot news reporting by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences.
Stewart, who recently wrote a bookabout his football playing days as a walk-on at Northwestern where he received his journalism degree, says he is currently weighing several job opportunities. Although many insiders felt he was not treated very fairly at KCTV, he is optimistic about continuing his TV future elsewhere.
“I hope to continue to grow as an anchor and reporter with another television station,” he says. ”I’ve covered many important stories over the years and made many great friendships.
”I just hope my efforts covering the news helped make Kansas City a better place to live.”
The spokesperson for the station was unavailable for comment.