KTTV Letter Writer: ‘Pall' Over Station as Layoffs Loom
Sudock says he's gotten major support since posting Murdoch letter
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/8/2009 5:04:09 PM
Sudock says around 100 people are to be let go from Fox's Los Angeles duopoly September 10, and another 12-17 on December 11. He says he's on the list for the December cuts. One insider said the layoffs are about half full-timers and have per diem freelancers.
He sent a letter to Murdoch directly late last week, but figured the News Corp. chairman would never actually see it. Thus the open letter sent to the Los Angeles media website LA Observed.
"In these harsh times for the country, your loyal and talented employees, many with decades of dedicated service, are being thrust into a market place where few if any jobs exist," Sudock wrote. "Homes are being lost, surgeries postponed and the most basic needs of thriving ‘Fox' families are threatened. On behalf of my co-workers, I am pleading for the kind of intervention that can only come from you."
Sudock, who says he's been at Fox's Los Angeles stations for the better part of 24 years, wonders how stations can fulfill their mandate of serving their community after such layoffs. "When you start dismantling the station, I don't know how you can do that," he says. "The cuts are so deep here that we looked at each other and said, ‘how do we do this?'"
Sudock says he's received an abundance of support from co-workers since his letter was posted this morning. He also says he's not been chastised by either News Corp. or his own management in Los Angeles for his dramatic missive, and is quick to point out that the company has been "great" about helping affected staffers with resumes and new job prospects.
Pointing the finger at the NABET union as much as at KTTV, Sudock says station morale is a far cry from when he started there years before. "It's always been a pretty happy shop; I'm biased but I remember it as the best shop in town to work at," he says.
With departing colleagues exchanging hugs and email addresses, Sudock adds, "it's incredibly depressing now."
He is right. The layoffs coming at Fox 11 News are terrible. So terrible in fact, the are crunching every little tiny penny. Anchors will no longer have scripts starting next week. Things are going fully automated, quality has gone out the window - they do not care. Or the bean counters in New York don't care. Not once did someone from New York go out to check this stuff out. And yet, Murdoch finds all the cash in the world to hire Chase Carey for Fox Broadcasting, Fox Film is doing gangbusters right now. I get it separate budgets, local ad sales are down but it seems to me - if Fox really wanted to... they could figure this out and keep these jobs. Channel 13 has already been totally torn apart since News Corp was allowed to own two stations in this town. How is that serving the public good? Anchors contracts have only been extended for one year, any many are planning their next move.
Troy Richard - 9/9/2009 1:40:06 AM EDT
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