Tag Archives: wfla

Media General Goes With Employee Furloughs: 10 Unpaid Days in '09

Media Generals WVTM/Birmingham

Media General's WVTM/Birmingham

Media General confirmed the rumors today, with word that “despite aggressive sales initiatives and significant cost reductions already implemented, we need to build in additional expense savings to offset the revenue shortfalls we anticipate,” in the decidedly corporate words of Marshall Morton, Media General’s CEO.  To put in words more commonly floated around television newsrooms, you just got two weeks off, whether you want ’em–or can afford ’em.  No pay.

Media General owns 19 local television stations, including WFLA/Tampa, WVTM/Birmingham, WSAV/Savannah, and WJAR/Providence.  Employees will be forced to take ten unpaid days, including four days off before the end of March, according to the Associated Press.  The AP reports the company has already cut costs by $19 million dollars by suspending matching payments to employees’ 401(k) retirement plans.

Media Generals WSAV/Savanahh

Media General's WSAV/Savanahh

The furloughs follow a round of corporate layoffs across several Media General stations over the last few months, including 80 positions cut in Florida last November, and on-air cuts in Birmingham and Charleston just weeks ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the furloughs are mandatory for all non-union, non-contract employees, though union and contract employees will be asked to “voluntarily” participate in the ten no work, no pay days.

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Media General Goes With Employee Furloughs: 10 Unpaid Days in ’09

Media Generals WVTM/Birmingham

Media General's WVTM/Birmingham

Media General confirmed the rumors today, with word that “despite aggressive sales initiatives and significant cost reductions already implemented, we need to build in additional expense savings to offset the revenue shortfalls we anticipate,” in the decidedly corporate words of Marshall Morton, Media General’s CEO.  To put in words more commonly floated around television newsrooms, you just got two weeks off, whether you want ’em–or can afford ’em.  No pay.

Media General owns 19 local television stations, including WFLA/Tampa, WVTM/Birmingham, WSAV/Savannah, and WJAR/Providence.  Employees will be forced to take ten unpaid days, including four days off before the end of March, according to the Associated Press.  The AP reports the company has already cut costs by $19 million dollars by suspending matching payments to employees’ 401(k) retirement plans.

Media Generals WSAV/Savanahh

Media General's WSAV/Savanahh

The furloughs follow a round of corporate layoffs across several Media General stations over the last few months, including 80 positions cut in Florida last November, and on-air cuts in Birmingham and Charleston just weeks ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the furloughs are mandatory for all non-union, non-contract employees, though union and contract employees will be asked to “voluntarily” participate in the ten no work, no pay days.

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The Below-the-Radar Impact on Local Newsers: Still Employed, But Making Less

250px-wfla2007The 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

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.

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