Scripps Earnings Up On Political Ads
March 4, 2015
Political advertising and TV station acquisitions helped push E.W. Scripps Co.'s earnings higher in the fourth quarter.
Net income nearly doubled to $15.7 million in the fourth quarter, from $7.9 million a year ago. Revenues rose 11% to $246 million during the quarter.
The company is in the process of completing the acquisition of Journal Communications' broadcast properties, while spinning off their newspapers. The transaction, expected to be completed in April, will make Scripps the fifth-largest independent broadcaster.
The company's television division rang up a $56.3 million profit in the quarter, up 67% from $33.8 million a year ago.
Fourth quarter television operating revenues were up 28% to $147 million. The company said that the increase was driven by $32.6 million in political advertising, incremental revenue from two stations acquired from Granite earlier in the year and a 41% increase in retransmission revenue to $15.8 million.
In addition to political advertising, local TV ad revenue was down 1% to $62.3 million, national was down 8.3% to $29 million and digital advertising revenue was up 24% to 45.9 million.
On a same-station basis, total revenue increased 22% and costs and expenses increased 4.8%, the company said.
Union Welcomes WTIC Hartford
February 18, 2015
NABET-CWA won an organizing election today at WTIC-TV/FoxCT in Hartford, Connecticut. The NLRB conducted the election for the 53-person unit, which includes news photographers, editors, assignment desk personnel, reporters, meteorologists and anchors. The final vote tally was 35-17 in favor of the Union. The petition for representation was filed by NABET-CWA on January 12th.
Staff Representative Carrie Biggs-Adams said, "I think it's a pretty impressive testament to the desires of the people of the workplace," because there were many efforts by management to convince workers to vote no, from emails to one-on-one meetings.
The officers of NABET-CWA Local 17 and Biggs-Adams supported the unit and helped the group form an impressive inside committee. Biggs-Adams said she has reached out to the Company to schedule contract negotiations.
January 30, 2015
Bargaining for a successor Master Agreement with NBCUniversal began this month as negotiators for NBCU and NABET-CWA met for three days in New York City to discuss concepts and exchange initial proposals. The stated mission for the Union is to improve economics, working conditions and jurisdiction for represented members at NBC, with an intense focus on Daily Hire issues. The NABET-CWA bargaining committee is co-chaired by Acting Sector President Charlie Braico and Local 53 President Steve Ross.
NABET-CWA members at Scripps-owned WKBW-TV in Buffalo, NY ratified a new 4-year Agreement on January 21, 2015. The Agreement calls for wage increases totaling 7% over the life of the agreement, an increase in meal penalties, improved jurisdictional language as well as improved building security. Scripps purchased the station in June 2014.
Negotiations between NPR and Local 31 began on January 21st in Washington DC. The unit members work in Washington, DC, Los Angeles (NPR West), New York, and Chicago –and includes Broadcast Recording Technicians, Satellite Operators and Electronic Engineers among others. The current contract expires on April 1st.
NABET-CWA's contract with KGTV expires on May 31.
CNN Case Heads Back to the NLRB
January 15, 2015
Workers at CNN in Washington and New York lost their jobs over a decade ago and after lengthy litigation, the National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the workers on September 15th 2014.
But the next day CNN gave notice they would not bargain, prepare back pay, or settle – they were headed off to the Federal Courts. The case was filed; dates for notices and responses were set by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (which is where NLRB cases are reviewed).
Then in mid-November CNN did a U-turn and filed a motion to reconsider at the NLRB. This was unexpected but our legal team worked through Thanksgiving and filed our response in early December. You can read the documents on the NLRB website here.
What does this mean? CNN has found a way to delay justice a little further. Now the Court has put the appeal on hold pending the outcome of the new NLRB process. NABET-CWA is reaching out to workers who were part of the group who lost their jobs, and those who still work at CNN in the jobs that were part of the original jurisdiction.
Channel 10, Local 54 Celebrate 60 Years
September 13, 2013
Sixty years ago today, KFSD-TV Channel 10 signed-on for the first time, an affiliate of the NBC Television Network. It was the culmination of months of work by members of the newly-formed NABET Local 54, installing and testing equipment. The TV station briefly shared space with KFSD-AM/FM at the U.S. Grant Hotel before moving to 3642 Enterprise Street (now occupied by Walter Anderson Nursery).
Channel 10 covered local parades and other events, produced live and filmed commercials and established a newscast that was branded KFSD-TV News. The very next year, original owner Airfan Radio Corporation sold all 3 stations to the investment firm of Fox, Wells & Rogers.
The station quickly outgrew its Enterprise St. facilities, so it bought 7 acres of land on a knoll 4 miles east of downtown in the "suburbs." The 47th St. parcel was conveniently located next to the "new" 6-lane Highway 94 freeway and bordered on the west by city-owned land reserved for a "future crosstown freeway" (now Interstate 805).
The 43,000 square foot, million-dollar Broadcast City was dedicated on May 25, 1958 and brought KFSD-TV-AM-FM under the same roof for the first time.
The state-of-the-art facility boasted 3 television studios (one outdoors), 2 control rooms, 2 audio rooms, a booth for a live announcer, a scenic shop, paint shop, film processing and editing facilities, a huge film projection room, makeup and green rooms and was built to handle future technologies like color television and videotape.
Ceding to the times, the newsroom was located in the area of the building housing the radio stations (currently the home of traffic and sales).
In 1961, all 3 stations changed their call letters to KOGO and the newscasts were rebranded as KOGO News. After several attempts to sell the stations, the broadcasting division of Time-Life purchased KOGO-TV-AM-FM in 1962. Time-Life already owned stations in Denver, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Bakersfield, California.
One of the most popular local programs at the time was The Johnny Downs Show. Targeted at children coming home after school, Downs entertained and informed audiences in between reruns of cartoons and The Little Rascals. There was a huge waiting list for kids wanting to attend the live broadcast and it was a popular place to go on birthdays, as kids were invited to play games and get toys and candy after the show. Golden Arrow Dairy was a regular sponsor and in live commercials Downs was featured as a superimposed miniature dancer on top of an old-style milk bottle.
It was nearly a requisite in the 60's that every station have a horror movie host and KOGO was no exception. Lisa Clark played Moona Lisa on Science Fiction Theatre from 1963-70. Broadcast from the surface of the moon amidst a mound of boulders and billowing smoke, Moona Lisa sported long black hair, tight jeans and sex appeal.
Moona Lisa welcomed viewers to the show with a seductively inviting "Hello earthlings" and concluded each show saying, "Happy Hallucinations, Honeys." Clark's husband Jeff was a long-time account executive in the KOGO sales department. After a stint in Los Angeles, Lisa Clark would return to host the Perspectives public affairs show in the 1980's.
As NABET members stayed busy with local production including live, filmed and now taped commercials and programs, KOGO jumped on a popular trend and in 1965, rebranded its newscasts as Eyewitness News.
Regis Philbin honed his "host chat" skills in 1966 with That Regis Philbin Show live from Channel 10's Studio 1.
In late 1970, Time-Life announced the sale of all its stations to McGraw-Hill. By the time the $57 million deal was concluded in June 1972, the Grand Rapids station was no longer part of the package and the FCC forced McGraw-Hill to sell the radio stations in San Diego, Denver and Indianapolis. This was the result of new rules restricting the concentration of media ownership. KOGO-TV's call letters were changed to KGTV.
With a background mostly in books and education, McGraw-Hill immediately shut down the commercial production unit, Pacific Productions. Some NABET members were laid off, but most were absorbed into the TV station operations.
Tapping into its educational roots, McGraw-Hill hired radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly to host a new syndicated game show for kids. Produced at KGTV, Words-A-Poppin' began a 5-year run in 1974, picking up multiple Emmy awards along the way.
"As a child I grew up watching Johnny Downs on his children's show on Channel 10," Shotgun Tom said. "Almost from the start I had a desire to host a children's show such as his. So when the opportunity arose for me to audition for Words-A-Poppin' I jumped at the chance."
Taped in front of a studio audience, the show featured a panel of six kids attempting to unscramble words grouped in a category (like kinds of birds or foods), racking up points and prizes for correct answers. A decade later, KGTV would try to repeat its success with the short-lived Scholastic SuperStars hosted by Mike Ambrose.
Tired of lagging in the ratings, KGTV made the decision to crank up its competitive edge in the late 70's. It dumped the NBC network for top-rated ABC, rebranded its newscasts as The News, added InstaCam units that could transmit live news from the field and leased a helicopter with live capability. SKY10 would be the only newschopper in the market for the next 2 decades.
While commercial and program production would always remain, this began a shift to news as the primary programming effort. With the news department working in cramped quarters (most recently used as corporate offices), KGTV decided to build an addition to the building while also cutting the scenic shop and prop storage area in half and eliminating the paint shop.
The new newsroom was dedicated in July 1981 and the newscasts were rebranded as 10News. The ratings rose and the station remained top-rated for the next two-and-a-half decades.
With the solid commitment to news and information, local programs in the 80's and 90's included the long-running Sunday morning Newsmakers with John Beatty and a series of town hall meetings including one with President Clinton in 1994.
In June 1988, KGTV launched Inside San Diego, an ambitious midday talk show with Bill Griffith and Laura Buxton. The show was replaced in 1993 with 10News Midday.
Meanwhile, technology led the way. For news, film gave way to tape; 3/4" Umatic, then BetaCam, DVCPro and memory cards. For operations, film and 2" videotape gave way to 1" tape, then BetaCam, DVCPro and servers.
In 1993, studio camera operators gave way to robotics and in 2002, production technicians gave way to production automation. With consolidation occurring within the broadcast industry, NABET merged with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in 1994 and became known as NABET-CWA.
In 1995, NABET-CWA members convinced KGTV managers to launch a website. KGTV.com became thesandiegochannel.com and finally 10News.com.
Through the decades, Local 54 took pride in partnering with management to accommodate technological change while also benefitting its members. That relationship -- which never saw a major dispute -- took a big hit in 2005.
McGraw-Hill and local management decided to try and bust the Union. When the contract expired at the end of January 2006, management negotiated to impasse, terminated employees, implemented their proposals and launched personal attacks on Union members.
Local 54 members fought back by appealing to KGTV's advertisers and the public. Ratings and revenue took a big hit, with the station dropping to 5th place for some newscasts. Despite that, management used delay tactics as they kept chipping away at employees' support for their Union.
In March 2011, employees finally got the chance to have their say, voting by a 2-1 margin to keep their Union in a vote conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. Two months later, McGraw-Hill decided to exit the TV business, putting its stations up for sale. Media insiders said all the stations were suffering from "neglect" but would fetch a decent price.
On October 3, 2011, McGraw-Hill announced it was selling its entire television station group to the Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps Company for $212 million. The deal was completed on December 30, 2011.
Scripps immediately announced its support for the Union. The parties negotiated a transition bonus for Union members and had an agreement in place by the end of 2012.
"Scripps is spending money to rebuild all the stations," Local 54 President Dennis Csillag said. "We hope that eventually this union-busting period will be nothing more than a bump in the road and that we can help restore KGTV to its former glory by working together."
Local 54 salutes the thousands of employees and millions of viewers who were part of the first 60 years! We're looking forward to much, much more.
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This website has been honored with CWA's "e-Advocacy Award" and "Members Choice Award." CWA is "The Union for the Information Age," representing 700,000 workers in communications, media, airlines, manufacturing and public service.