Media malestrom

More of the “shoes” we’ve been talking about in this forum for the past month or two are starting to drop. Unfortunately, Belo has decided to chop 15 bodies out of its operations here in the Seattle area with cuts coming at KING, KONG and NWCN. Much to my surprise, I think they’re laying off again at the mother ship too (WFAA) in Dallas. A.H._Belo_Corp_logo

Belo was always viewed as one of those companies you wanted to work for. But now, not so much – true of about any of the media companies. Managers are taking pay cuts, and employees have lost 401(k) matches.

The overtime and cell phone bill memos are annual traditions in television, but this is going to be deeper. I’m sure investments in gear, travel, allowances and all the other things that make working somewhere more attractive rather than less attractive are also on the block.

Cox and Fisher probably aren’t far behind, which is also a crying shame.

People living around here don’t know it, but Seattle’s TV stations had great reputations all across the United States back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. They still kind of do, but more and more, Seattle is becoming “just another market.”

It used to play much bigger than its market size suggested – incorporating tools (and some toys – i.e. the KIRO NewsJet etc.) and adhering to standards of quality that often exceeded operations in much larger places. There are a number of historical reasons for this I won’t bore you with here.

Meanwhile, the Tacoma News Tribune announced it will try to make a little additional coin by increasing the price of the paper at the news stand. I think they could probably increase home delivery prices too because at this point: People still taking any newspaper are the true believers and would probably pony-up if asked.

If enough cash can be pumped in, this may prevent McClatchy from cutting the Monday edition – let’s hope so.