KCBS, KCAL plan new offices
Sister TV stations KCBS Channel 2 and KCAL Channel 9 are planning to move to a new custom-made home in a swanky Studio City neighborhood, even though they just started cohabiting under the same Hollywood roof.
Top executives at Viacom and CBS, including CBS President Leslie Moonves, have approved plans for building a new state-of-the-art facility for the two stations at the CBS Studio Center lot in Studio City, which is home to several television series.
Don Corsini, president and general manager of KCBS and KCAL, said in an internal staff memo: “We are already well into the planning stages and are optimistic that the facility will be ready for us a couple of years from now.”
The combined stations are currently broadcasting at the historic Columbia Square facility on Sunset Boulevard, which has been the home of KCBS. The KCAL news operation and other employees moved this year from their longtime offices on Melrose Avenue next to Paramount Studios. Although the stations have separate identities, they share reporters and resources.
Despite extensive remodeling and new sets for both news operations, the Columbia Square facility, which will celebrate its 65th anniversary this April, cannot comfortably accommodate the two stations.
“We have been able to expand, but it’s not sufficient,” said one KCBS executive. “There is talent in different parts of the building when they should be together. We’ve had to move walls to accommodate the operation.”
The executive added that the building lacked other features, including adequate air conditioning.
The future of Columbia Square, which also houses radio news station KNX-AM (1070), is uncertain, although insiders said Viacom would probably try to sell the property.
Plans for the new building have yet to be drawn up, and permits and other approvals must be secured before construction can begin. But the facility is earmarked for the northwest section of the lot in a residential neighborhood.
The proposed move has already attracted a mix of responses.
Polly Ward, vice president of the Studio City Residents Assn., said she was pleased with the plans. She and other residents had feared that the studio center would construct more soundstages, which she said would bring more traffic and noise to the area.
“Right now, we see this as a positive thing, though we really want to know more,” Ward said.
But Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who represents portions of Hollywood, said the departure of KCBS and KCAL would be a historic loss for the area.
“It really saddens me,” LaBonge said. “So much of radio and television history is in that building. It’s a very historic location. But I understand it’s a business decision.”