by Mark Hengel
Posted 1/23/2009 02:59 pm
Updated 11 months ago
Another local media company is taking steps to cut costs and save money.
KATV-TV, Channel 7, cut about 20 workers on Friday, sources tell ArkansasBusiness.com. Station executives announced the layoffs at two meetings on Friday, one this morning and another at 2:30 p.m.
Two sources close to the situation put the number of those laid off at about 20. The layoffs hit all areas of the Allbritton Communications Co.-owned broadcaster, including on-air talent, sources said.
KATV officials said they would not comment on personnel matters.
Cuts also appear to be taking place elsewhere within Allbritton, which owns several other TV stations. The Washington City Paper is reporting that Allbritton's Washington D.C. stations, WJLA-TV, Channel 7, and NewsChannel 8 cut 26 Friday morning. Five reporters and one editor lost their jobs, the newspaper said.
Executives at Allbritton did not respond to a request for comment.
KATV, an ABC affiliate, has been a ratings leader in central Arkansas market, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The station's layoffs follow similar moves by other media companies, which have been hurt by declining ad revenue in the economic downturn.
Little Rock CBS affiliate KTHV-TV, Channel 11, cut seven positions in the fall as parent company Gannett Co. Inc. consolidated certain operations to a site in Greensboro, N.C. Last week, Gannett told employees at its newspapers and TV stations, including KTHV, that they would have to take a week-long break without pay during the first quarter.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, having suspended hiring and frozen salaries, asked employees this month to voluntarily cut their hours in an effort to cut costs.
And the Little Rock Fox affiliate, KLRT-TV, Channel 16, cut staff last year after its parent company, Clear Channel Communications, sold the station to Newport Television LLC.
At least one Arkansas media company is investing in a new nightly newscast. Nexstar Broadcasting Group Inc. of Irving, Texas, is closing on its $4 million acquisition of Little Rock MyNetworkTV affiliate KWBF-TV on Jan. 30 and plans to launch a new hour-long newscast at 7 p.m.
Pay Cuts at WJLA
In Washington D.C., station management announced Friday that was also imposing 3.9 percent pay cuts across the board and a three-year salary freeze.
The company also said it would no longer match employee 401(k) contributions.