Friday, May 07, 2010

Wheel of Fortune or $25,000 Pyramid?

We all know that, economically speaking, times are tough. But, if you're an attorney in this town, KEYT could be your own personal Stimulus Act.

Last fall two former employees sued the station alleging that it engaged in unfair labor practices, including failing to pay overtime wages.

Now a UCSB professor is suing the local ABC affiliate for a story it ran last year on its morning newscast reporting that the professor was wanted for first degree rape. The story turned out to be a hoax and KEYT quickly retracted it and made an elaborate and profuse apology on its 6 pm newscast. But chemistry professor Kalju Kahn evidently felt that the damage to his reputation had been done and the bell couldn't be unrung. On February 25 of this year, just days before the one-year statute of limitations would have run, Kahn filed a civil suit in Santa Barbara Superior Court against KEYT and its parent company Smith Media LLC.

If Kahn or the plaintiffs in the labor case prevail, KEYT may not only be breaking the news, they'll be breaking the piggy bank to pay those damage awards.

And the programming department at KEYT might want to rethink which show should lead into the 5 pm news broadcast. Right now it's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"

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