Hawaii TV station layoffs a sign of tough economic times - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii TV station layoffs a sign of tough economic times

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Rick Thompson Rick Thompson
Chad Burkett Chad Burkett
Allen Wong Allen Wong

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The KHNL/K5 and KGMB shared service agreement is set to be finalized in 60 days, but it's still uncertain who stays and who goes. Becoming Hawaii's biggest and best news team will come at a price. The merger means layoffs and lots of them.

Honolulu resident Rick Thompson makes his weekly trip to the unemployment office after getting laid off months ago.

"It's been really rough, if I didn't have a few good friends, I'd be homeless," said  Thompson.

"I gave him spending money, I've helped him the last three months," said Chad Burkett.

Rick's unemployment check is about $263 a week. More than 30,000 unemployed people in Hawaii take in about the same.

There are more than 100 full-time employees at KHNL and K5 from talent and tech crews to the sales department upstairs. There are about 93 of our future colleagues at KGMB. But an undisclosed amount from both teams will be let go.

Coincidentally, a local painters union held a rally for local jobs Tuesday, the day of the announcement. They want state companies to hire local first, because everyone's hurting.

"Union, non-union. Little mom and pop stores or even companies like you guys," said Painter's Union president Allen Wong.

The cuts here will happen and hurt deep. Whether it's anyone on our news teams, or others out there looking for jobs - take Rick's advice.

"Show people you want to work and have to work, otherwise you won't go anywhere," said Thompson.

His search continues and like some of you, many of us will be standing there with him. KHNL/K5 News and KGMB have been keeping you up to date on layoffs and furloughs across the state but now each station will feel that hurt firsthand.