The Thinning of the NYTimes Herd has Begun?

I have it from a reliable source that as of this Friday afternoon the thinning of the NYTimes herd had begun. My source tells me that at Ft. Smith, the axe fell on at least three in sales and production could go as high as seven. I’m told that in Huntsville five folks were shown the door and there is a staff meeting set for this evening. No word on what’s happening at WREG in Memphis. Really no surprises that cuts were and will be made. Hey, as the GM posted earlier this week, it’s all about the bottom line.

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11 Comments on “The Thinning of the NYTimes Herd has Begun?”

  1. Doug J. Says:

    Yikes. As you and I both know, it’s possible to stick around the DOTR for a long time. I was there 8 years, and that’s still the longest tenure of any job in my adult life. And a lot of the folks who are there now were there when I showed up in 1990. And there’s always fallout. The first station I worked at (Casper, WY 1986) was sold. The GM and station manager assured us the new owners weren’t going to get rid of anyone. Of course, they were the first two who were fired.

    It’s going to be toughest on the long-timers. It can be very hard to find a new job that will let you use the specialized skill set you develop in TV news — even harder to make anywhere near the same money after a number of years. Especially when you can’t pull up stakes and leave town the same way you could before the spouse, mortgage and kids in school. To refer to my immediate past job, there were a lot of folks in that newsroom who say they want to leave — but there isn’t another cable news operation in Atlanta — so they stay and put up with it.

    Even though the not exactly the same situation here — very few people who may have to leave the DOTR will find other TV work in Memphis. There’s a finite number of jobs at a finite number of stations.

    There could be much unpleasantness ahead — and I already feel bad for anyone who’s going to have to go through it.

  2. Northern Spy Says:

    Four axed at WNEP. Three in News; one in Engineering. Management had no-class; tossed them out like trash. One guy was there for 31 years! When the NYT left, they took the Rules of the Road with them. Management is already turning into reptiles.

  3. Steve Andrews Says:

    The station DOTR lost its station manager, production manager, comptroller and one of its veteran audio engineers (Maureen O’Connor, Ethel Sengstacke, Jon McGlothian, Donnie Brooks)…all let go Friday.

  4. joelarkins Says:

    I got this item from News Blues (www.newblues.com) courtesy of a fellow former co-worker at NYTimes.
    Local TV, LLC, the newly formed broadcasting arm of investment company
    Oak Hill Capital Partners, which took control of the nine station New
    York Times group last week, has wasted no time trimming staff.

    On Friday, Tim Morrissey, longtime general manager of KFOR-4-NBC in
    Oklahoma City (Market #45), was abruptly shown the door, along with a
    handful of staffers.

    A tipster in Memphis reports that Local TV, LLC canned the station
    manager, production manager, comptroller, and a veteran audio engineer
    at its flagship WREG-3-CBS (Market #44) on Friday.

    The axe also fell at KFSM-5-CBS in Fayetteville (Market #102). Tipsters
    say ten were fired Friday, including the station manager, two
    producers, on-air personalities Fred McLure and Robert Houston,
    receptionists, and traffic personnel.

    More cuts are expected as the new owners settle in this week.

    I have to admit I’m surprised the new owners axed a GM this early in the game. I figured they’d wait at least until the end of the year to start cleaning house at that level. Plus, from what I’ve heard Morrissey was well liked at KFOR.

  5. The GM Says:

    In most ownership changes, the GM is the first to go. Why wait six months? If change is going to happen, make it occur sooner rather than later.
    The GM

  6. Doug J. Says:

    I don’t recall exactly, but didn’t Tim hold some NYT corporate position as well as his GM job in OKC? Not that that would preclude the new bosses from keeping him, but it might have been a factor in their decision.

    And like I said last week, it’s going to really bite for people who have worked at one place for 15 or 20 years to try and find a new gig.

  7. joelarkins Says:

    An insider tells me that it appears the blood-letting has ended at the former NYTimes stations and that if you haven’t gotten the axe by now, you probably won’t get it. At least that is the impression from my source and this person generally doesn’t do impressions. (rim shot) This person does not think that any of the five folks in the weather department at WREG will be cut which IMHO is rather surprising since I figured at least one person would get the boot. I think the two guys with the Outdoor show at WREG thought they would be canned but I never really thought that even though the new owners cut the Outdoor show at KFSM. First, the Outdoor show at WREG makes money and it is done with a two man crew and it very rarely occupies the time of the production department. The Outdoor Show at Ft. Smith is shot by one person but as I understand the production staff helps put everything together for airing. I may be wrong on this but I don’t think so. So if you haven’t been called upstairs, take a breath and consider yourself safe. Now, let’s get out there and all work smarter AND harder!

  8. Bishop333 Says:

    I noticed that Kris wasn’t on daybreak this morning. Maybe he was on vacation.

  9. joelarkins Says:

    Since it is a ratings period and an important book at that, I would imagine that KA was under the weather. Unless the new owners are total boneheads which I’m sure they are not, I doubt they would pull the plug on any primary on-air people until the book is over.

  10. Bishop333 Says:

    He was on there this morning.

  11. curious Says:

    I’m curious about your theory of the new ownership keeping the 5 weather folks. If it’s strictly business (and saving $$), that department should be counting their blessings…and their abundant change.


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