Also, WB 21 / My 68 owner also considers filing for bankruptcy
New Vision Television filed for bankruptcy Monday. The company, based in Atlanta and Los Angeles, owns 16 stations nationwide including CBS 42 (WIAT) in Birmingham.
The company, which goes by the name New Vision Television, said in a statement it has an agreement that will eliminate more than $400 million in debt and provide it with capital to continue its operations. The company secured $30 million in new financing, according to the statement.
“Our daily business operations will not miss a beat,” said Jason Elkin, chief executive officer, in the statement.
Jobs and employee benefits will be “intact,” operations will continue as usual “and as soon as the pre-arranged court process has ended, New Vision will emerge as a nimble, well-financed company,” he said.
Update: The CBS 42 Twitter feed called the move “good for us- no layoffs and more good news coming today.” The station hired former NBC 13 anchorman Ken Lass to start Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group faces a heavy debt load ($1.33 billion) and declining ad sales, like most TV owners. It warned in an SEC filing that it may be forced for file for bankruptcy.
Sinclair owns and operates WB 21 (WTTO) and My 68 (WABM) in Birmingham.
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Tagged advertising, bankruptcy, CBS 42, debt, My 68, New Vision Television, Sinclair Broadcast Group, television, WABM, WB 21, WIAT, WTTO
Media of Birmingham has learned in this exclusive report that NBC 13 eliminated 11 positions across various departments this week, including senior reporter Scott Mauldin (top left) and reporter Havonnah Johnson (bottom left). Vice president and general manager Gene Kirkconnell cited the economy as the reason behind the latest round of cuts.
Monday, Media General, which owns NBC 13, cut 130 positions total nationwide, after suspending 401(k) matching contributions and mandating two-week furloughs.
NBC 13 laid off 10 people in January, while ABC 33/40 laid off 15 people and Fox 6 laid off 10 in February.
Kirkconnell would not say how many employees NBC 13 has, and referred questions about further cuts from Media General to the company’s representatives. Media General has not responded to e-mail requests.
He said that NBC 13’s employees were doing a good job working with limited resources and that the station’s March ratings were looking good. NBC’s local news programs in the morning and at 5 and 6 p.m. showed increases in household ratings over the same time in 2008.
Update: Birmingham Business Journal story profiles Mauldin’s new company, Vulcan Media Team.
A third Birmingham TV station has cut jobs. Fox 6 (WBRC) cut 10 jobs Friday, as first mentioned by veteran former TV reporter Ike Pigott and later by the Birmingham Business Journal.
In January, NBC 13 and ABC 33/40 cut 25 jobs total.
Business Journal reporter and MOB member Jimmy Debutts wrote:
Fox6 WBRC cut 10 jobs, including on-air personality Chris Montana, on Friday.
Fox6 General Manager Lou Kirchen confirmed the station trimmed its staff in response to economic pressures. Kirchen would not comment on individual positions cut but a source familiar with the layoffs said Montana was among those affected.
Kirchen said the layoffs will not affect the station’s mission.
“Our news coverage will continue intact,” Kirchen said. “It was very difficult. We feel bad for the staffers and families affected by this.”
Local TV, owner of Fox 6 since July, has swapped stations with new owner Montgomery-based Raycom Media, with the transaction to be completed in the first half ot this year.
Two Birmingham stations cut 25 jobs in the past two weeks.
On Thursday, NBC 13 laid off 10 people:
Ten people in the news, sales and marketing departments were laid off this morning and their positions eliminated at NBC 13.
“As a result of the continued business recession, WVTM has been affected by lower advertising spending,” Vice President and General Manager Gene Kirkconnell said of the layoffs.
“Parting with valued employees is difficult,” he said. “I don’t anticipate anything else to come.”
And less than week before that, ABC 33/40 laid off 15 people (nearly 13 percent of its total staff):
Birmingham’s ABC 33/40 laid off 15 full-time and part-time employees Friday afternoon, including sports reporter Melissa Lee and meteorologist Brian Peters, a station official confirmed.
The cuts affected all areas of the station – including producers, engineers, photographers and sales representatives – but Lee and Peters were the only on-air personnel let go. The station employed 120 people before the layoffs.
“It’s a very difficult time,” ABC 33/40’s vice president and general manager, Mike Murphy, said Friday. “We regret that it had to take place.”