The report on TVSpy today is eye-opening. Sources telling TVSpy that producers at WFLA/Tampa (all producers… everyone) were called in and given an offer they couldn’t refuse: resign. Was the Media General station unveiling some kind of new automated producing software? No. Producers were told they could apply for their jobs. Hmmm… Okay, quick show of hands: how many of you local newsers think the new jobs pay MORE than the old jobs?
According to the ShopTalk post, WFLA news director Don North “promised the producers new deals. But, as you might imagine, the suspicion factor is running high, and whether they’ll ever see those new contracts. So folks at this Media General station are sitting out the next 90 days in shock, wondering what happens next.
This was a tough spot for those producers.”
Don North's Letter/From TVSpy
And it’s not just in Tampa. Reporters in markets like Miami and NYC are reporting offer-you-can’t-refuse moments in meetings with bosses: take less pay, or we’ll get rid of you. What choice to you have in this climate? But the paycuts are obviously under-reported, as few people call the newspaper to announce they’ve just taken a salary cut.
It makes you wonder just how widespread this really is.
Amazing. In the same week when WNBC reminds viewers that it actually can compete on the big story, the station waits until Friday to bury a far more telling news item: three more experienced New York vets cut at the “content center.” The Daily News’ Richard Huff broke the story overnight on nydailynews.com:
“A day after WNBC/Ch. 4 scooped its rivals in covering the Hudson River plane crash, the station fired three of its most familiar names.
Market veterans Jay DeDapper, Kendra Farn and Carol Anne Riddell were let go Friday.
“Their contracts were not renewed,” said a station spokeswoman.
They are the latest in a long string of on-air layoffs for the once dominant station, which in recent years has seen its news ratings fall. ”
DeDapper, a veteran New York City political reporter, now apparently out of a job at NBC’s flagship just hours before one of the biggest political stories of our lifetime. Who will “NBC New York” have in Washington? Who will it have in Brooklyn? Who will it have who can even remember what WNBC once was? Chuck, Sue,… and who?
The warm NYC sendoff ended a 14 year career on the sports desk for Sal Marchiano at WPIX/NY: “Sal made a decision to retire at the end of this year, and last week was Sal’s last week on the air as our sports anchor,” a WPIX-TV spokeswoman told the Daily News in late December. Now, we’re getting Sal’s version of the story: ” They told me I was out – finished,” Marchiano told the Daily News’ Bob Raisson. “They were not renewing my contract. The order came down from the top.”
Marchiano says not only was the “retirement” story bogus, he’s hardly ready to walk away from covering New York sports. “I’m a free agent,” Marchiano says, who tells Raisson he was fully expecting a new contract, was ready to take concessions given the state of the economy, but was instead sent to pasture, complete with a sweet story of retirement Raisson suggests Marchiano only learned about by reading the Daily News. (Echoes of WNYW main news anchor Len Cannon, who learned of his departure from the NY’s FOX O&O by reading the front page of the New York Post, announcing the multi-million dollar signing of New York legend Ernie Anastos)
Raisson writes: “Marchiano’s termination is more about what’s happening in the local TV news business than it was about his performance. Industry sources say all six local stations, which for decades were cash registers, are losing money – big money. This has led to cutbacks. It has also led to major players, including local sports anchors making mid six-figures and up, either taking drastic pay cuts or, in Marchiano’s case, being fired. “