Across the country, star local news anchors are signing off for good, the New York Times reports, as local network affiliates look for ways to cut costs, and find big anchor salaries tempting targets. Newscasters with more than 20 years behind the desk have been dropped in Chicago, Houston, Denver, and Boston. “I don’t think we’re going to see the anchor people grow old with the audience anymore,” said one casualty.
Local news remains the most popular source of news in the country, regularly watched by more than half the population, but the rise of the Internet has hurt ratings. Ad revenues are likewise in freefall, as the economic crisis slashes advertising budgets, particularly at automakers. “The conditions are as bad as I’ve ever seen,” says one longtime anchor. “It’s scary for people over 50.”