News chief Kausch out at Sat.1


COLOGNE, Germany -- Thomas Kausch, the respected head of news at Berlin-based network Sat.1, has resigned from the channel following major cuts in the channel's news staff, Sat.1 confirmed Thursday.

Kausch was a widely respected news anchor for German public broadcaster ZDF when he was hired by Sat.1 in 2004 to boost its news credibility. He gave the channel's coverage a much-needed polish but failed to help Sat.1's ratings, which dropped 1% last year.

Sat.1 parent ProSiebenSat.1 this week moved to slash news programming at the channel, canceling three Sat.1 news magazine programs and firing 55 employees. The contracts for a further 35 employees are set to expire in November.

There have been media reports that German regulators could sanction Sat.1 for failing to fulfill the requirements of its broadcasting license, which call for a "full program" of news as well as entertainment.

But Sat.1 managing director Mattias Alberti has dismissed that possibility, saying overall news and information programming at the channel will be at 23% following the cuts. That's well above the 19% level Sat.1 had in 2000 when state media regulators last renewed its license.