The Bloodletting at Former Clear Channel Stations is Over (for now) and at Least One Local TV Station Swings an Axe of Its Own

Many thanks to some old buds of mine for giving me the heads up on more information on the cuts at Newport (formerly Clear Channel) TV. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, the 161 people let go company wide signal the end of the cuts (for now- my comment). Here’s an excerpt from the article:“There are no further reductions planned,” said a company spokesperson in a statement Thursday. “This was a difficult but necessary step to ensure that each station has the right team to compete over the long-term.”
The Kansas City, Mo.-based Newport bought the stations last spring from Clear Channel Communications, which got out of the TV broadcast business.
Sources inside KTVX say some of the people laid off included the ABC affiliate’s program director, public affairs director, special projects director, marketing director, a nighttime newsroom editor and some floor staffers. They received no warning about the layoffs, sources said. According to the company, the Utah layoffs did not affect on-air talent.

I know that 21 people were laid off at WPTY in Memphis but I don’t know if it was across the board like in Salt Lake City. I’m still waiting for someone to get over the shock and share some information with me if they can. From the list above I can see they probably hit people with the larger paychecks (managers) and needed to keep as many worker bees as they could.

And I received a heads-up on this tidbit from News Blues about the axe falling at the Local TV operation in Norfolk, VA. It seems the new GM at WTKR (who used to be at the Raycom operation in Huntsville) gave the boot to the ND and Asst. ND at WTKR. And an on-air person from across the street in Norfolk who had waited out a one year non-compete to join WTKR and finally hired in May was given the boot by the GM there as well. I guess he just didn’t like the “cut of his jib”. Wow. Don’t let anyone tell you these aren’t tough times out there in TV land.

I was checking out some information from another blog, (this one from a former shooter at WKRN in Nashville who switched over to WTVF) and he was sharing information about what it was like to work at a Number 1 station that likes to show its appreciation to its employees. This is a portion of what he wrote: There is no Shangri-La in the news business, but as far as the treatment goes, WTVF is as fair, and reasonable, as they can possibly come. It’s also the number one station in the market, so it doesn’t spend it’s days chasing it’s tail, like a number two or three. It leads.
It has interesting perks like, “Win every show in a book? The entire staff gets a paid day off.” It happens at WTVF more than you could imagine.

Now that is appreciation. Of course i would imagine that will change as new owners will take over. In all fairness, I do remember the management DOTR popping the cork on some non-alcoholic bubbly in the studio after a win and I think they brought in the cheerleaders for the Memphis Redbirds to get everyone pumped up BEFORE a book. Most of the time we got a “pat on the back and an ‘atta-boy’ which as some will argue is still better than a sharp stick in the eye.

One poster responding to the timing of the departure of both NDs from the WTVF and KLAS operations said he found it “interesting”.  I had an anonymous source share with me this observation: it IS a date/timing issue.  Mike Cutler (news dir WTVF) & Mike Stoldal (KLAS & former WTVF news dir) both took retirement because the arbitrary date of July 1st was put in front of “eligible” employees (by LANDMARK) who’d like to OPT for early retirement. (they get continued insurance for the remaining coverage year and a few other niceties,etc)  Hey Money talks.

One final note, I have had one reader suggest a couple more folks on TV that you’ve never seen together. I can’t find that link right now but will share it as soon as I find it.

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4 Comments on “The Bloodletting at Former Clear Channel Stations is Over (for now) and at Least One Local TV Station Swings an Axe of Its Own”

  1. JW Says:

    On the 24/30 situation, the 21 people were “across the board” including some employees with over 10 years at the station. Of the 21 only two managers-one of which was a sales manager was released. 3 reporters released.

  2. Doug J. Says:

    Change of direction from the current thread.

    There was a major gathering of current and former Memphis TV folks Saturday. NC3 anchor April Thompson married her longtime beau, Bill Larsha. If a meteor had hit Mississippi Blvd Christian Church or Colonial Country Club, TV news in this town as we know it would have ended.

    Splendid time had by all. For all the former 3ers who couldn’t be there, you were missed.

  3. joelarkins Says:

    I guess my invitation got lost in the mail…..

  4. Doug J. Says:

    Ouch. Hey, I didn’t get an invite either. I just walked in with other NC3ers. We could have gone together as the Memphis version of “Wedding Crashers.”


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