Monday, July 02, 2007

Exclusive: More firings to come at WNEP?

Beale's Bites has learned that the four firings that happened earlier this year at WNEP may not be the only ones to happen under new ownership at Montage Mountain Road. Sources have revealed there may be plans to jettison staff that has been there for quite some time. It's not known when this could happen, but some people at WNEP are apparently aware of the cost-cutting plan.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch out Kurt Aaron!!!

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exclusive?????

Ruby Lomax beat you to the punch months ago.

See:
http://www.electriccityweekly.com/columns/story.asp?id=45746

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm expecting the new owners to eliminate Skycam. It may be a big part of NEP's identity, but how much does that matter to an equity company? That one move would eliminate a huge expense. Hope I'm wrong.

11:36 PM  
Anonymous growler said...

Firing the GM would be the smartest move. WNEP's rise to ratings dominance, and years of ratings dominance, were because of managers who understood NEPA and served it as a REGION -- as originally set forth by Tom Shelburne and Elden Hale. Sadly, WNEP's new owners left people such as Lou Kirchen in charge. Kirchen knows nothing of NEPA, no matter how much she says to the contrary. She'll be the death of WNEP.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeez I hope it's not Marisa. I kind of like a 50ish prison matronly drill sergeant barking the news at me with this vague sense of "We're number one because I'm Marisa."

PS
Mike Lewis, what happened to that Dennis the Menace cowlick in the front you used to sport that made me think you probably just toweled off after hitting the showers following a boyishly good looking youthful athletic contest of some sort and the fact that your upper lip is paralyzed probably also the result of an athletic injury? What was I saying? Oh right, the cowlick? Mike?

1:47 AM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

Exclusive?????

Ruby Lomax beat you to the punch months ago.


Unless I'm developing cataracts, her article only deals with the four WNEP employees who were given pink slips.

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Rob Rave from Rave Landscaping pay WNEP for his appearances and tidbits from the Snedsker? Also wonder if Rave gets a discount or gets free air time for his 30 sec commercials that only appear on NEP.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Rob Rave gets a TON of free face time and commercial time in exchange for the work he did redesigning the "Backyard Weather" set and turning it into a theme park.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple of comments:

It's my understanding that Rob Rave gets on the air to pay for the mega bill for landscaping WNEP and the backyard. It's called trade.
As for more firings--there are many people over the age of 40 there and have been there for 20 years plus.
Those employees have said if they are let go and the severance package is not good---then an age discrimination lawsuit will be their first thing to do after being escorted out of the building.

Skycam: yes it's a big expense and I understand that there was talk of getting rid of it by one of the prospective buyers who did NOT get the station.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's believe the conventional wisdom that the new owners of WNEP are possibly getting rid of the "long-time" staffers as a cost-cutting move...yeah, okay.

Th real reason to cut the long-time staffers (asst. ND, EP and some producers, reporters and ancors)? Because of the ridiculously pathetic, old, stale, same-old news 'NEP turns out.

Who wants to bet me that tonight or tomorrow (July 3rd and 4th..) 16 does a holiday traffic story on I-81, a getting ready for the 4th story about buying hot dogs and cookout food, and a story about how the 4th of July is good for tourism in NEPA? SAME OLD LAME STORIES EVERY YEAR...

Yeah, I'd say it's about time some long-timers are shown the door and some fresh, new, and okay, inexpensive faces come in and generate real NEWS!!!!

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any decision to ditch Skycam will be THE indicator of the new owners' intentions.

Sure it's expensive. Sure you can do news without it. But it remains the most identifiable (and promotable) "face" at WNEP.

Keeping Skycam would prove you're in it for the long haul. Grounding the chopper would show you're in the take-the-money-and-run business.

Once Skycam's fate is decided, all else will become known.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget about that "ice house" story we saw on 22 and 28 during the recent heat wave. They all do it.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beales: And I thought I was the only one to use the word 'jettison.'

10:58am: Fourth of July stories are the same old stories in every market in this country. Sure there's news out there, but why bother? It's the demise of TV news, settling for the same old.

In larger markets, you hope to see a 'fireworks display turned bad' or a 'heated mid-summer shootout between rival gangs.' But up here, there's no hope of that happening.

And if it did, most police departments are so un-savvy, that the media wouldn't get the full story of what's-up until it was too late... which invariably becomes the story.

On July 4th, I hope to see a large rash of criminal activity that pushes fireworks and hotdogs down to the C-block.

Happy 4th!

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About that "...ridiculously pathetic, old, stale, same-old news 'NEP turns out." Yes, what happened to the on air people just waiting for the chance to show what they could do?

When Dennis Fisher was news director, they said he didn't want controversy that can come from hard hitting stories. That's why the newscasts were filled with features and even Mike Stevens repeats.

When Bob Absher ruled the newsroom, they said he was too picky with scripts and demanded quality journalism over personality.

Well NEP people, Fisher has been gone for months and Absher left two or three years ago. What's your excuse now? Could your lack of talent be holding you back?

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new company pays ton of money for another company. makes cuts to start realizing profits sooner rather than later. this is news?

9:33 AM  
Anonymous job searcher said...

Local TV, LLC is dishing out more pink slips, but yet they have a job opening posted for a photog? That doesn't make any sense at all. (I saw the job opening posted on TVJobs).

Why would they bother posting a job opening when they are getting rid of people?

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'd say it's about time some long-timers are shown the door and some fresh, new, and okay, inexpensive faces come in and generate real NEWS!!!!
=========================

It wouldn't matter. Why? Until the relentless need to fill the shows stops, there is NO TIME for generating real groundbreaking reports. Take a look at TV around here. It's filled with cops and robber reports, fires, and car crashes.

Local news is a cash cow and I don't see anyone scaling back so there would be some time to do some real investigative reports that would translate to "real news"

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thread that has switched topic in mid-stream. OK, at least this tangent doesn’t involve personal attack. And the debate over what makes for news and the state of local broadcast journalism is always a worthy topic. But once again the posts are equal parts truth, fiction and wishful thinking.

12:56PM is right. No one is doing any real reporting anymore. The surprise here is that this seems to catch him or her by surprise! Over the last 25 years the air time devoted to local news has tripled while the size of the staffs has shrunk. In the early 80s WNEP did half-hour newscasts at 6:30 a.m., Noon, 5:00, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. Now? And was the market leader doing any true investigative reporting back in the early 80s? Was anyone?

8:29PM indicts the 16 staff for turning out lowest-common-denominator news. Fair criticism. They’re running plays out of an old playbook, but as long as they’re so far out in front where’s the incentive to suck it up and go for more?

Several posters blame lazy, complacent reporters and news managers for trotting out the “It’s Thanksgiving, let’s go watch the homeless eat turkey at the shelter” stories. I don’t blame the stations as much as I blame the viewers. They’ve never demanded more. They’ve rewarded mediocrity. Over the years WBRE, in particular, has tried every once in a great while to do meaningful investigative reporting. Viewer reaction has always been a prolonged yawn.

That’s because the locals are too busy watching WNEP doing the obligatory “It’s Easter, and the Humane Society doesn’t want you to buy bunnies as pets” stories. The reaction? A flood of “Talkback” posts: “Oh, those are just the cutest bunnies I’ve ever seen.”

“No they’re not, last year Julie Sidoni had much cuter bunnies.”

“Yeah, but in 1987 Karen Harch had really cute bunnies.”

“Why doesn’t Snedeker build a bunny hutch in the backyard?”

“Snedeker? He’s the worst.”

“Don’t you criticize Snedeker. Go Joe!”

No one ever went broke underestimating what the viewers in this market will watch. Let’s see. We’ve got a ten share. If we reject the fluff and the puff pieces and plow time and money and resources into kick-ass reporting, are we guaranteed an 11 share?

Oh. I see. Never mind. Bring on the “We’re getting our first snow of the year, let’s go to the tire dealer for car care tips” stories. Maybe we should just re-rack last year's tape.

Personally, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t care about journalism. I’m just looking forward to my vacation trip out west with Lyndall Stout. Maybe Vince Sweeney will come along and bring Ron Giordan.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An investigative reporter who turns a story every month or two, if your lucky, is mostly a thing of the past.

But, it's not too much to expect daily hard news from reporters. Not accidents, fires and water main breaks with so few details you can't tell if they're meaningful stories. Not big time investigative pieces. Just those stories you dig up on a Monday and air that evening. You know, where the people don't want to talk to you about something they don't want reported. Why aren't those on The News Station almost daily as they once were? I can't remember the last time a reporter got a door slammed in his/her face.

16 is real heavy on soft news to the point of doing reruns of On The Road stories? Since when is an "old" story news?

11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WNEP is home to the single most negative person in the market.

C'mon, you know who I'm talking about. Go ahead. You can say the name. It's risky, you might be killed, but you can do it. Go ahead.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WNEP is home to the single most negative person in the market."

Gotta be Bob Reynolds, Mike Blewus, or Marissa Kandel. What say you?

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats, Howard. Your website has become a gossip column. How about practicing some of that fine journalism that you preach?

9:31 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

Congrats, Howard. Your website has become a gossip column. How about practicing some of that fine journalism that you preach?

I will be the first person to tell you this blog isn't a serious outlet of journalism. Look at the top of the page; it clearly says this is an outlet for my views and opinions, so take everything you read here with a grain of salt.

As for the journalism practices I preach, I use that in the newsroom.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that excuses you of common sense, decency, responsibility, and accuracy? some of the the things here are mean, hurtful, and worst of all, untrue.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Howard Beale said...

So that excuses you of common sense, decency, responsibility, and accuracy? some of the the things here are mean, hurtful, and worst of all, untrue.

I do what I can to filter out rude, pointless, and blatantly offensive comments from appearing on this blog. Some do slip past the moderation queue (NEPA Negativity, anyone?), but I can't help it if there are some people who have nothing better to do than come here and grind their axes about what is essentially old news. Actually, I can help it, and I'm glad you brought it up, because some changes may be on the way.

That said, I've always refrained from pointless personal attacks on people, or trying to dish up dirt on someone's personal life. I've always said this blog isn't supposed to be some sort of salacious gossip column, and I don't plan on making it one.

As for the tips that come my way, do you honestly expect that anyone would be willing to confirm things such as the possibility of more layoffs at WNEP? I couldn't pay enough money to have someone attach their name to the tips that land in my inbox.

If you want to discuss this further, I'd like you to e-mail me, because I'm always interested in listening to criticism that could improve things around here. I'll close by saying that my opinions may be funny, strange, or downright unpopular ... but I make no apologies for my personal opinions.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howard, you should never have to apologize for your opinions. No one should. As long as opinions are segregated from "news" there is no problem. Journaliists aren't robots without personal thoughts and feelings. The key is to keep objective while on the job. Period. After that, you have a life and your own world. Never apologize if you keep your profesional work objective.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, 1:08, it's a blog, get it? That's all it is, a blog. A darned good one, but it's still a blog. If you want Howard to police posts to suit your tastes, then I have three words for you - don't come here. Let the conversation flow here, let ideas be exchanged. Your idea to change this blog to what you feel it should be is one bad idea.

If you really want to split hairs, and Howard really wanted to adhere to what a weBLOG is all about, he'd post his ideas and opinions and ask for no other opinions.

BTW, and again this for 1:08, if you're going to make accusations, we need specifics here. What untruths have appeared on this blog? Let's have specifics. Otherwise, your words are hollow...

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:08PM: "So that excuses you of common sense, decency, responsibility, and accuracy? some of the the things here are mean, hurtful, and worst of all, untrue."

Howard my boy, I hope this makes it out of your moderation queue.

Here's a note to anyone who agrees with the above "quoted" statement.

Get the f**k out of here!

I'm sick, but not lost for words, for those of you who think because you can read it on your screen, it means your opinion on content-control is worth a damn here... BEAT IT if you're offended by any of the written remarks.

I have no idea who Ron Giordan is, and I've never met Al Zobel, but I could care about the threads for and against these infamous characters.

While this blog isn't journalism and journalism was never promised here, it is based on one useful principle: the freedom of speech and expression.

Howard nearly shut his blog down about a year ago for a similar stunt and threat of a lawsuit; how about those of you who have such insecure and vulnerable personalities get outta here for the last time.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:04 PM

Who says your opinion on content control is worth a damn?

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That’s because the locals are too busy watching WNEP doing the obligatory “It’s Easter, and the Humane Society doesn’t want you to buy bunnies as pets” stories. The reaction? A flood of “Talkback” posts: “Oh, those are just the cutest bunnies I’ve ever seen.”

“No they’re not, last year Julie Sidoni had much cuter bunnies.”

“Yeah, but in 1987 Karen Harch had really cute bunnies.”

“Why doesn’t Snedeker build a bunny hutch in the backyard?”

“Snedeker? He’s the worst.”

“Don’t you criticize Snedeker. Go Joe!” >>><<<

The above lines are all too true, and gave me a good laugh.

This market is about people at home who like routine. People watch this and that on television for one reason only. If you ask them, they will say... "well, that is what we always watch."

WNEP has no reason to change. The money is rolling in without change. And any change by WBREYOU goes unnoticed because not enough people watch to begin with.

Until they start promoting their station by using means other than their own airwaves (read:public appearances, giveaways, a billboard or two), then any good ideas they may have won't matter because no one will notice.

3:38 AM  
Blogger Noss Talgic said...

I think Kurt is the only one who *doesn't* have to worry. The new morning "show" is circling the drain. Great idea to put a softspoken midwestern woman with Joe and Tom. Work of genius. Who wants to bet this Go Joe 10 is his good-bye tour?

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY 11:04 PM

Nobody said my opinion was worth a damn... not even I!

So to hell with your inferences that anyone writing here thinks their published thoughts on this blog carry any weight... d-bag.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The new morning "show" is circling the drain.

What new morning show? Supon left, she was replaced, not a new show. Besides, after the May book's huge numbers, WNEP would have to deliberately start forcing viewers away in order to get within striking distance of circling any drain.

If you want to talk about drains, circling, toilets, and flushing, try and get a look at PA Morning's numbers, if you can find a half hour where they have any.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, well! I see the same old crap is circling the drain HERE. If you have worked in any LARGE market in this country, you would be aware of what is happening at NEP. "The new broom sweeps clean." In the case of Lou Kirchen...hick-up, She will escort the New owners in as a transitional GM. When the "Investors" see that she has taken them through the transition, well, Bye Bye Lou. The same will hapen with the bean counter (accountant) at the station. When they learn his system, he will be history.

The new owners are collecting resumes and names from their past. These resumes and the faces that go with them will start moving in.
When that STARTS happening, when you speak to the first new employee who tells you "I worked for so and so before, I am so happy to be here," they will begin to multiply. The broom is sweeping at that point. Knowing the production department as I do, they are so top heavy, they can save a bundle there. If ego equalled work in that department, they could accomplish the same amount of work with just 2 of the egos in that room. The company will then move in like ants at a picnic. The reporters and anchors will get younger and younger. (hence the new morning GIRL who, according to rumor, may be in the "Supon way" expecting a little bundle.)Is there some fertility drug in the morning coffee there? Next, the memo's about turning off lights in the rest rooms and in places no one is working in. The new company already rushed the new editing system in early. The older photogs who are not up on the system have a specified time to learn, or they are out. Those photogs are probably some of the highest paid employees in the newsroom. Getting rid of them would be a nice profit maker. If I were a senior employee there, I would be watching my back everyday. If they told me to take out the trash, I would....even if it is not in your contract.

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry as I feel for WNEP staffers, their way of life is about to end.

How long before the new guys decide they ain't gonna spend what they're spending to what, to beat 50? Christ, WNEP could lose twice the audience that 50 has and still be beating the snot out of them.

As much as broadcasting means to me, even I(sheepishly)will admit how foolish it would be to keep throwing money away, and that's what they're doing right now. It will come to an end.

The sudden appearance of younger faces has nothing to do with an effort to achieve a fresher look. Instead, it has everything to do with money, and what some of these kids are willing to accept as living wage. I predict we'll see the day when no reporter in this market makes more than 30K, and no anchor more than 50K. Furthermore, I'll predict that that day will come sooner than later.

7:47 PM  

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