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Tribune fires KTXL general manager Jerry Del Core

Jerry Del Core appears in an image taken from his Facebook profile. (Photo: Jerry Del Core/
Jerry Del Core appears in an image taken from his Facebook profile. (Photo: Jerry Del Core/

Jerry Del Core, the president and general manager of Sacramento FOX affiliate KTXL (Channel 40), abruptly resigned on Wednesday after five years at the station.

In an e-mail sent to co-workers, Del Core said Tribune Broadcasting executives “wanted to make a change in the station’s leadership.” Del Core did not elaborate on what that change was.

The resignation was first reported by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. The Bee said Del Core’s last day with the station would be Friday.

The Desk was not able to independently verify the content of the e-mail sent to KTXL staffers. Del Core did not return an Facebook message seeking comment by press time.

Del Core joined KTXL from Clear Channel Radio, now iHeartMedia, where he served as vice president of four local radio stations owned by the broadcast giant. He joined the Tribune Company in the summer of 2010. Tribune Company was re-named Tribune Broadcasting earlier this year.

Under Del Core’s leadership, KTXL did not find enough of an interested audience to turn around the station’s dismal ratings. When he joined KTXL in 2010, the station was dead last in the ratings, and not much changed after five years.

The Bee noted on Wednesday that KTXL finished dead last in the recent May “sweeps” period, the quarterly period in which stations compete for newscast ratings. According to Nielsen household ratings reviewed by the Bee, KTXL’s 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily newscasts were in last place behind competitors KCRA (Channel 3), KXTV (Channel 10) and KOVR (Channel 13). The station’s five-hour hard news morning program edged out KOVR’s two-hour news program, but was still behind competing local and network broadcasts aired by KCRA, KXTV, KMAX (Channel 31, co-owned with KOVR) and KQCA (Channel 58, co-owned with KCRA).

Del Core’s forced exit comes less than a year after news director Brandon Mercer resigned under a similar quit-or-be-fired arrangement. Mercer expanded the station’s news commitment from a single one-hour daily broadcast to nearly eight hours every weekday and more than two hours on the weekends. Mercer, who now works as a digital media manager for CBS in San Francisco, also worked for five years at KTXL before his sudden resignation last June; former KCRA news director Ed Chapuis took over for Mercer a few weeks later.

(Disclosure: The author of this article is a former employee of KTXL who once worked under the direction of Jerry Del Core, Brandon Mercer and Bob Ramsey, who are named in the above article. Del Core and Mercer are also key figures in an ongoing legal issue involving the author of this story.)

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).