At least five veteran news anchors on KNBC, the NBC-owned station in Los Angeles, have taken "voluntary early retirements." Evening news co-anchor Chuck Henry and reporters Beverly White, Vikki Vargas, Angie Crouch, and Kim Baldonado all accepted the buyouts presented to staffers earlier this year, sources told The Los Angeles Times on Dec. 7. KNBC confirmed their retirement on Friday.
NBCUniversal is undergoing a "dramatic" round of cost-cutting and is reportedly offering incentives to longtime staff members to retire. This comes as television companies are preparing for a difficult 2023 with a downturn in advertising, recession fears, and increasing programming costs. At KNBC, management told staffers earlier this fall that it hoped volunteers would agree to buyouts to keep the number of layoffs to a minimum. About a dozen staff members agreed to early retirement, but sources told the Times that this was not enough to completely stop all layoffs. Six people in ad sales, public relations, and at Telemundo were laid off on Dec. 7. Ruben Keoseyan, the news director at KNBC's Telemundo sister station KVEA, also accepted a buyout.
Vargas announced her retirement on Dec. 7, sharing a tearful video looking back on her 40-year career in Los Angeles journalism. "The biggest benefit to me has been the number of you who have allowed me to come into your homes, into your hearts, into your lives," she told viewers. "When I knock on that door and the person on the other side says yes, it's phenomenal to me. It's the biggest perk of this job, to meet someone who has just lost their child, their business, their home, and that you allow me to tell that story knowing that it will become very, very public in the moments afterwards. But beyond that, I've remained friends with a lot you. Because of that, we've been able to talk about the human resilience, how over the years you've come away from, gotten better than, re-invented yourself from that moment of tragedy."
Henry joined KNBC in 1994 and has become one of the most recognized anchors in Los Angeles. He has won several local Emmys and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Television Radio News Association. His work in 2009 earned him the Los Angeles Emmy Award for Oustanding Feature Reporting. Henry has co-anchored the evening news broadcast with Colleen Williams for over a decade. Williams is expected to stay at KNBC.
White began working at KNBC in 1992 and received the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Baldonado joined KNBC in 1995 and won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for her special LAUSD: Battle for Control. Crouch is a six-time Emmy-winning journalist who joined KNBC in 2004.