And we’ll start with a, uh, “handful of layoffs” at a local TV station…
SCRIPPS HAMMER: Word spread among various markets that Scripps was letting a few people go (to the parking lot, then home for good).
We have been told that the layoff count is a pretty big “handful” (more on that phrase later) at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 here in Cleveland…the last number we heard was that seven people are no longer “on your side” at NewsChannel 5.
We don’t have any names at this point, but we’re told that of that number, four layoffs were in the newsroom…and two were a part of The Beleaguered “Good Morning Cleveland”. And with all the change on that show during our entire nearly 10 year run, that may as well be the show’s official name.
That number of two layoffs apparently doesn’t count the recent departure of “GMC” anchor Macie Jepson, which we reported earlier…though if management at 3001 Euclid knew that corporate was looking for places to cut, maybe that was in the back of their minds when making that decision. We don’t know.
So, why is Scripps laying off people?
The folks at TVSpy are on the case, and got this statement earlier this week from Scripps corporate communications VP Carolyn Pione Micheli:
We did have a few layoffs in some of our markets today. It was fewer than a handful of people in each place, and not in all of our markets. Some of those affected will move to other jobs in our newsrooms.
The move was aimed at devoting more resources to getting additional newsgatherers out on the street. Scripps is committed to its communities and to its news operations, and this strategy is designed to move newsroom resources toward increasing the investigative coverage of our stations and better serving those communities.
Scripps continues to be a progressive leader in newsroom design and staffing. As we often do, we assessed the roles that have lived within our newsrooms for years and have made some adjustments to better support our multi-platform future. That means reallocating more resources to content creation.
Right now, that “more resources for content creation” is not being detailed or noticed at the station level, certainly including at WEWS – according to our sources there. A commenter to that noted 8 layoffs at 3001 Euclid, though again, that may be counting Macie Jepson’s departure a while back.
TVSpy hasn’t left the case. In a followup item, they asked Scripps corporate communications manager Valerie Miller to translate the phrase “more resources to content creation” from Corporate Speak into English:
“[It] means we want to have more people involved in actual newsgathering – out in the field – especially for investigative coverage on a daily basis.” Which sounds like a shift from having people at desks to having people holding cameras and reporting on the street, with a focus on investigative reporting.
The followup TVSpy story noted the WEWS layoffs included “a creative services writer/producer”.
And it features this telling Scripps news release quote from Scripps president/CEO Rich Boehne:
“We are focused on digital video, and in the fourth quarter, we got a big boost when we added the Newsy video players onto our local newspaper and television websites.”
Boehne added, “Digital video is a fast-growing marketplace that supports premium rates for pre-roll advertising. The large and growing Newsy audiences give us the opportunity to take advantage of those new revenue sources.”
We don’t even have to check, as we’re pretty sure “Newsy” features little or no local content from Scripps’ newsrooms, including our friends at 3001 Euclid.
The quote borders on a “hey, we have a cool video player now…oh, we have TV newsrooms, too?” type of quote.
Welcome to, again, the future…
KATIE TO ANDRE: We have a few readers who follow, some closely, the career of TV sports reporter Katie Witham.
Katie left her role as reporter for SportsTime Ohio’s Cleveland Indians coverage, saying she wanted to move on to other things:
— Katie Witham (@Katie_Witham) February 8, 2015
Her departure from Fox Sports-owned STO was confirmed for us by the network, and it was also confirmed for us that Jason Stanford won’t be returning this year.
With the Indians’ regular season just a month or so away, there are reports of Witham’s replacement at STO, and he’s certainly a familiar name.
Fox Sports Ohio has selected Andre Knott as its sideline reporter for its Indians’ telecasts for the 2015 Major League Baseball season, an industry source said.
The personable Knott will be replacing Katie Witham, who said she left her position to pursue other opportunities.
Knott has been a jack-of-all-trades in the Cleveland market. The Akron native is currently working as a sports talk show host on WTAM-1100 AM.
We haven’t meshed all the schedules together, but the Indians TV load would presumably preclude Knott staying with WTAM on a full-time basis.
And we presume it could also preclude Knott taking the sideline reporter job for WEWS’ 2015 preseason Browns TV games, as we thought might be possible.
Even if the Indians don’t make it to the post season this year, the regular season ends long before the Browns preseason ends. We don’t know if Fox/STO would let Andre loose for four days of Browns’ games…
ABOUT THAT BROWNS TV: Finnan also digests the announcement of Browns’ preseason programming on the team’s new TV partner, the aforementioned WEWS:
Inside the Cleveland Browns” will debut at 11 a.m. March 8. Sara Carnes and Dustin Fox will host the 30-minute show. According to a news release, the show will provide unique access to Browns players, coaches and the team, along with fan features and community impact stories.
“Dawg Pound Report” will follow at 11:30 a.m. Nathan Zegura and WEWS sports director Andy Baskin will host the 30-minute show. A release said the program will showcase news from around the league, as well as Browns news, analysis and guests.
Finnan talks about the possible makeup of the yet-unannounced Browns preseason TV team, with rumblings that last year’s analyst Solomon Wilcots could take the same role this year, and “NewsChannel 5” sports reporter/anchor Mike Cairns could take the play-by-play role formerly handled by Browns radio voice (and former Browns TV rightsholder Gannett WKYC/3 sports director) Jim Donovan…
NEW MILES NEEDED: The departure of iHeart Cleveland imaging guru Miles Hlivko to the same role at iconic sister top 40 outlet KIIS in Los Angeles leaves some rather big shoes to fill back at Oak Tree.
Here’s the iHeart job site listing for the opening, should you be interested in trying to fill large footwear:
The job listing says to “send your resume and MP3 demo urgently to iHeartMediaCareers.com”.
Yes, it does say “urgently”…though we do hear that Miles is still in Northeast Ohio until later this month…
AND FINALLY: We are still planning our #TheNextRadio series as a series, though we are not able to produce it weekly due to Life Intervening(tm) once again.
Installment #2 will show up as soon as we can finish it…