Tuesday, February 3, 2009

With Super Bowl behind us, will layoffs begin for Tampa media?

Eric Deggans writes:

It was an all-hands-on-deck level event for most local news shops, already buffetted a bit by layoffs or buyouts last year. But now the question arises: with the year's biggest local news story behind us, will there be more layoffs in Tampa Bay area media?

Media General, the Richmond Va.-based owner of WFLA-Ch. 8 and the Tampa Tribune, faces the most persistent rumors. Whispers that the newspaper might significantly downsize after the Super Bowl grew to such a volume, that the company built an advertising campaign around assuring readers that the newspaper was here to stay.

But the company announced an $85.5-million loss in the fourth quarter, announcing plans to suspend its dividend and sell WCWJ-TV in Jacksonville (not surprisingly, the company will suspend the monthly revenue reports which have created a deluge of bad news about the company, spotlighting losses in Florida).

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