Maybe I Should Have Stayed In Bed?

When station managers are forced to make cuts, hefty anchor salaries are a tempting target.

I came back to work today. Maybe I should have stayed in bed?

Yesterday, Miles O’Brien (a nice guy I know… but barely) was let go at CNN after nearly 20 years. Today NBC-Universal announced 500 layoffs–about 3% of the company. A note from a union rep says Boston TV stations are offering contract renewals with 20-25% salary cuts!

The union that represents our photographers and technicians began contract negotiations today and has already called an emergency meeting for tonight. That can’t be good news. Anything’s possible when your company’s stock, once in the twenties, closed today at $1.31.

All this comes on top of Brian Stelter’s sobering story in Sunday’s Times.

“Across the country, longtime local TV anchors are a dying breed. Facing an economic slump and a severe advertising downturn, many stations have cut costs drastically in the last year, and veteran anchors, with their expensive contracts, seem to be shouldering a disproportionate share of the cutbacks. When station managers are forced to make cuts, hefty anchor salaries are a tempting target.”

We’re not alone. Our lead story today was layoffs at AT&T. Pratt & Whitney laid off a slew of employees earlier this week.

Certainly the financial meltdown our country… no… the world is suffering is a major cause. But TV in particular and all media in general are being killed by the Internet! Though few Internet media endeavors are making money they are still undercutting old media.

Craigslist and Yelp are a print publisher’s worst nightmare. Journal-Register, which publishes the New Haven Register and a few other Connecticut dailies saw its stock close at 3/5&#162. I could buy the entire company with what’s in my 401-K if I were also willing to also take on about $650 million in debt.

Hundreds–maybe thousands of jobs in old media will be lost to companies that employ handfuls.

Any time you watch YouTube or get the forecast somewhere online you’re not watching TV. I get it. It’s tough not to be a Luddite under these circumstances. As the Times article says,

“On the Web, users can assemble their own newscast from an around-the-clock buffet of options, making anchors seem somewhat superfluous, especially to younger viewers.”

Like I said–maybe I should have stayed in bed.

5 thoughts on “Maybe I Should Have Stayed In Bed?”

  1. I’m the exception, not the rule… but as much as I jump on Google or Yahoo for news every day, I can’t give up TV news. I’ve been watching it for too many of my 23 years.

    News on the net is great, but I still enjoy getting it from you guys. I feel connected to the staff–something you won’t see on the net.

    And I haven’t found a website yet that can replace a good old-fashioned local weather forecast.

    So don’t stay in bed, Geoff. They tend to get rid of you quicker if you don’t show up!

  2. Geoff,

    Have you ever considered what you’d do next if WTNH decided to make major changes and let some of the senior on-air staff go?

    Would you try to get into radio, or stick with TV?

  3. I’m not sure what I’d do. I’m lucky to have an understanding of net technology and video production, so I’d probably try and start something net based on my own. I’m willing to wear many hats, which is important.

    Or, maybe I’d just retire.

  4. TV is a dying medium. It has been killed by over saturation of commercials, to the point where it has become unwatchable for many.

    TV “news” content is too entertainment oriented. TV news began to die when some TV executive many years ago decided to make it profit oriented, rather than public service in exchange for use of the airwaves.

    Local TV news is a revolving door of pretty faced talking head news readers constantly mispronouncing local locations.

    The ability to get news immediately on your phone/PDA in real time, is the final nail in the TV coffin.

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