News operations at KCWY 13 in Casper are set to be cut back significantly.

Right now, KCWY has 15 professionals producing news. Only four reporters will remain in Casper following the change.

The owner, Gray Television, says the station will merge news operations with KGWN in Cheyenne to form Wyoming News Now. The stations will simulcast news in the morning, at noon, during late evening hours and on weekends.

However, original local newscasts will remain, airing at 5 p.m. in Casper and 5:30 p.m. in Cheyenne. KCWY will use "Jeopardy" to replace its 6 p.m. newscast.

When asked for a statement, KCWY General Manager Jim Beck directed K2 Radio News to a story by TVNewsCheck, saying it covers the substance of the company statement.

"Quite simply, Gray has been forced to take this unfortunate action because [the U.S. Department of Justice] blocked our acquisition of the CBS affiliation contract for our Casper low-power television station late last year," the statement reads as reflected in the story. Gray said it has invested $2 million in KCWY over the past few years in order to improve the news product and increase efficiency.

While the company statement blamed the Department of Justice for the decision, Gray also acknowledged that it has lost money every year in Casper.

"As we told DOJ, unless we acquire the CBS affiliation and thereby trigger a second retransmission revenue stream to offset our losses, we would be forced to eliminate most local news in Casper," the statement continues. "DOJ was not persuaded by the value of preserving a competitive local news operation in this market nor by any of the other public interest benefits that the transaction would have permitted."

The company said it intends to offer jobs in other Gray markets to its Casper employees whose positions will be cut.

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