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KOMO fires Sinclair amid national layoffs

Last week, employees fired KOMO-TV, the broadcasting giant of Sinclair, which owns the Seattle station, as part of a nationwide crackdown.

Sinclair Broadcast Group և KOMO did not provide the number of redundancies in Seattle, but several employees indicated that the redundancies included six people on the TV station. Two employees said they had heard, either as a result of discussions with management or the station staff, that the company had taken a total of 21 positions in various operations on its television and radio.

Attempts by KOMO և Sinclair to comment on Saturday’s Sunday were unsuccessful.

Last week, Sinclair cut staff across the country, citing the COVID-19 epidemic.

President և CEO Christopher Ripley told employees on Wednesday that the company was planning “large-scale layoffs for our workforce of about five percent,” the e-mail said. CNN Business last week. Sinclair’s spokesman told CNN Business that the company has 9,211 employees, which means that a 5% reduction could affect about 460 people.

“From local companies – advertisers to distributors – partners, no component of our business ecosystem has been protected from the effects of the global epidemic,” Ripley wrote.

“With staff cuts in other parts of the budget, ‘staff reductions will be significantly smaller than if we had not done that,'” Ripley added.

Dismissed employees at KOMO included, among others, a sports anchor over the weekend, two photojournalists և the Seattle Refined lifestyle show, the KPLZ radio station’s Spanish-language KUNS store, for fear of retaliation against the three employees.

A fourth employee, who was among those laid off, said the cuts were the “harsh reality” of the industry. “Unfortunately, the people who make the decisions do not know who is affected. You are a kind of anonymous, faceless widget. “You just hope it will not be your turn when those cuts have to happen.”

SAG-AFTRA, a union representing KOMO’s broadcast staff, confirmed that the station had been “fired” but declined to comment further.

Employees say the cuts came as a surprise to the station. “It simply came to our notice then. “If those reductions came, we thought they might have already happened,” said one employee.

Local news has suffered greatly due to the epidemic. Local and national cuts were cutting advertising advertising revenue.

In its February earnings report, the company said that total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020 fell by 7% year-on-year, despite an increase in political advertising revenue during the presidential election.

Sinclair also struck a financial blow to its acquisition of sports networks in 2019, writing the value of those networks at about $ 4.2 billion.

Sinclair was also criticized for directing stations to the “mandatory” areas to the right. When the company asked local presenters in 2018 to read a “fake news” script, several KOMO employees described the commotion inside the station. The company said at the time that its “promotions do not serve a political agenda.”

One employee said he was still disappointed with Sinclair’s leadership’s expected conservative “slope” in coverage. “We do our best to fight some of the decisions that we know come from Sinclair’s leadership, but we also lose a lot of battles,” he said.

Employees say they are concerned that recent cuts could be missed in the field of sports coverage on the weekends or increase staff turnover. Some are already “doing two people,” said one employee. KOMO cut 10 positions in 2017, including Problem Solvers’ investigative reporting team.

The Oregonian / OregonLive reported on Wednesday that Sinclair had been fired from his job at KATU-TV in Portland. “Dismissed employees beyond Sinclair were fired,” Ripley wrote in an email to employees, although he did not provide details.

Information from the Breaking National Archives is included in this report.

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