Tuesday, April 14, 2009

KPTM Omaha Lays Off 22, Cuts Programs

KPTM Fox 42 cut two programs from its lineup Friday at the same time that 22 employees were laid off or reduced to part-time hours, the Omaha World-Herald reported. At least two on-air personalities, weekend anchor Scott Patterson and reporter Julie Hong were let go. The programs that were cut were the station's 4 p.m. local news program and it's 4:30 p.m. lifestyle program.

Posted by Rachel Kaufman


WQED Pittsburgh Pres/CEO Takes 30% Pay Cut

WQED Multimedia President and CEO George Miles Jr. is taking a pay cut that effectively reduces his pay by 30% from where it was last year.

In late 2008, the community-supported broadcaster initiated an expense-cutting package that also includes hiring freezes and elimination of discretionary staff travel and training. Salaries were frozen and employees will pay more out of pocket for healthcare.

Miles took a 23% pay cut. At the quarterly meeting of WQED's board yesterday, Miles was expected to ask for another cut.

Miles has come under fire lately for the money he makes outside of running WQED; he sits on the board of AIG, among other corporations, and pulls over $800,000 a year.

WQED Multimedia is the parent company of WQED TV stations in the Pittsburgh area (PBS, etc) as well as public radio stations, a magazine, and a Web site.

PITTSBURGH, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- WQED Pittsburgh today reissued a clarification of its financial status in response to questions from the public and the media about its finances during the current national economic crisis.

"These are extraordinary times and since last summer WQED took extraordinary measures to deal with them," said WQED President and CEO George L. Miles, Jr. "We called it 'Hunker Down' because when we ask our members and the public to support WQED, we can say in turn that the employees - and that includes me and the executives of this company - continue to do their part to cut costs and raise revenue.

"Our goal is to navigate through this tough economy and to be stronger going into fiscal year 2010," Miles added.

WQED's Board of Directors approved a conservative budget last September for the current fiscal year. Then in December of 2008, WQED revisited the budget and instituted "Hunker Down Phase 2" -- additional cost-saving measures, which included:

-- Hiring freezes-- No salary increases
-- Suspension of WQED's contributions to employee retirement plans
-- Negotiation of union contracts with the International Association ofTheatrical and Stage
Employees (IATSE) Locals 820 and 489
-- Additional employee-paid premium costs for health care
-- Elimination of unnecessary travel-- Elimination of employees' attendance at conferences
-- Elimination of employee staff training-- Elimination of awards entries
-- Suspension of overnight mail and messenger service
-- Increased energy conservation measures

Total executive compensation has been reduced between 20 to 26 percent, with Miles' compensation reduction at 30 percent.


San Diego's XETV First Local News Broadcast To Cut Sports

While we've been hearing a great deal about the struggles of local newspapers, there has not been much chatter about local television news. That might be changing. Yesterday San Diego's XETV Channel 6 was the first local TV station to completely eliminate their sports department.

Sports director C.S. Keys, reporter and weekend anchor Andrea Nakano and producer Mike Lamar were all let go. Last year the station lost its affiliation with the Fox network, so it could no longer show live sports events.

"This had nothing do with the people in the sports department; it had everything to do with return on investment," Richard Doutre Jones, the CW affiliate's vice president and general manager, told the San Diego Union Tribune. "Because of the proliferation of people getting their sports from the Internet and ESPN ... in these tough economic times, it just became an increasingly difficult decision I had to make."

Many other local news stations have decreased their sports coverage over the last few years, but no one has eliminated the sports department entirely.

Posted by Becki Heller

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