Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ABC'S WTVG Ch. 13's New Owners Cut 20-Plus Jobs

Toledo Blade: Only a week after SJL Broadcasting purchased WTVG-TV, Channel 13, and station officials announced there would be no job losses among the station's 100 or so employees, approximately two dozen positions have been eliminated.

The job cuts were to Channel 13's production, support, Web, and sales staff -- none involved on-air talent -- and included several buyouts, sources at WTVG said.

SJL Broadcasting of San Luis Obispo, Calif., purchased WTVG, Toledo's ABC affiliate, from ABC-owned Television Stations Group, part of the Walt Disney Co., for $16.8 million. The transaction also included a second station, WJRT-TV, Channel 12, in Flint, Mich., for $13.2 million. The Federal Communications Commission approved the sale in February.

SJL Broadcasting has also cut approximately the same number of positions at WJRT, including two of the station's longtime anchors, Bill Harris and Joel Feick.

Toledo and Flint represent two of the smallest markets out of ABC's 10 corporate-owned stations, which include Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Houston.

SJL President and Chief Executive Officer George Lilly owned the Toledo and Flint stations 16 years ago before selling them to ABC.

In the most recent Neilsen ratings book for the industry's February sweeps, Channel 13 won five of the six head-to-head newscasts over its longtime rival Channel 11.

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