CBS taps TV industry veteran to run its two Los Angeles stations
CBS Corp. on Thursday tapped a veteran general manager, Steve Mauldin, to run its two Los Angeles stations: KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9.
Mauldin has worked in the industry for 32 years, most recently managing CBS’ Dallas stations. Mauldin visited Los Angeles four years ago to learn how executives combined the operations of the two stations and replicated the model in Dallas, so he is familiar with his new turf in L.A.
“We have a lot to work with here. Both television stations have a lot of talent and KCAL has a great brand,” he said in an interview. “But obviously, I am here for a reason and that is to help these stations grow.”
Mauldin said it was too early to say what moves he might make because Thursday was his first day on the job. “I don’t want to mess up anything that’s working, but if it’s not working, then we will make changes and soon,” he said.
In the last year, KCBS has lost ground with its local news -- despite the strength of CBS’ prime-time schedule that includes such hits as “CSI: Miami” and “The Mentalist.” KCBS’ newscasts have been stuck in third place for years and occasionally dip even lower in the ratings.
CBS was impressed that, under Mauldin, the flagship Dallas station finished last month’s sweeps in first place in late news for the first time.
KCAL has been locked in a three-way race for the lead at 10 p.m. Mauldin said he wanted the L.A. stations to work more closely with CBS’ AM radio outlets, KNX (1070) and KFWB (980).
Mauldin, 60, is an aggressive and well-regarded executive, according to competitors. He also worked at stations in Houston, New Orleans and South Florida. Earlier in his career, he worked in L.A. in sales at KABC-TV Channel 7.
In the last two years, TV stations have been walloped by a steep drop in ad spending by the automotive industry. Auto ads can make up as much as 40% of a local station’s revenue.
“Our L.A. stations got whacked pretty badly,” CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said at an investment conference this week. But advertising spending has been picking up, he said, including in L.A.
Mauldin replaces Patrick McClenahan, who managed the stations for the last year.
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