KGUN Channel 9 in Tucson has so far not had to lay off any employees, but it is enacting a number of other expense reductions, reports Tucson Weekly.
The station is first eliminating overtime, which had been used “on a regular basis” according to TW, including shift extensions, in which a member of the morning shift stays later and the evening shift arrives earlier to make sure there’s always someone in the newsroom; eliminating overtime for missed lunch breaks; and no longer calling in an hourly employee to replace another that had called in sick.
KGUN is also instituting a hiring freeze, which is unfortunate, because TW reports that the station had already been accepting applications for a number of open positions. The station is being more selective when it comes to stories that require travel, replacing its sat uplinks with Skype, and banning discretionary spending.
TW obtained the memo explaining the cuts, from KGUN news director Forrest Carr. It reads in part:
“We are going to have to tighten our belts in ways that will not be comfortable….I very much regret that we are in this position—and I hasten to point out that news ratings are not the issue. It’s the economy. Quite simply, we are personally feeling the effects of some of the very issues on which we report every day in our newscasts, and Tucson is feeling those effects worse than most other places.”