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Financial News

Forbes ‘Surprised’ Local TV Pay is Low

The news is probably no surprise to anyone who works in local TV, but Forbes.com has included reporters and anchors on its list of “13 Surprisingly Low-Paying Jobs.”

According to the list, reporters in newspaper, radio, TV or other mediums, took in an average of $43,640 per year.  For the bottom 10 percent the number is closer to $20,000. While reporters in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts averaged $71,450 and $64,080 respectively, those in Montana, Iowa and Idaho earned less than $29,500.

The survey also had a category they called “Radio and TV announcers” who earned an average of $40,510 a year. For those living and working in Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alabama and Kentucky, the average pay was less than $27,740. Those in the bottom 10 percent earned an average of $17,150.

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Meredith Local Media Sees Record Profits

Meredith Corporation’s Local Media Group has announced record growth in revenue and operating profit for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2013.

For the first six months of fiscal 2013, revenue for the company’s local media group rose nearly 30 percent to $198 million while operating profit rose nearly 90 percent to $72 million.

>RELATED, mediabistroTV: Cubes Tours Meredith’s “Better” Studios

“We continued to excel at our goal of delivering compelling content to viewers across broadcast, digital and mobile media platforms,” said Local Media Group president Paul Karpowicz.  “At the same time, we did a great job monetizing the strength of our audience, as local over-the-air television once again demonstrated its unique ability to build brands and deliver unmatched results for advertising clients.” Read more

Two at Local Station Groups Named ‘People to Watch’ in 2013

TVNewsCheck is reporting the Media Financial Management Association has named its five “People to Watch” for 2013 with two of the five, NBC Owned Stations chief financial officer, Christine Dorfler and Tim Busch, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Nexstar Broadcasting Group, directly responsible for making sure their local TV station groups turn a profit.

“The biggest challenge is anticipating how people are going to consume my product three, five, 10, 20 years from now,” Dorfler told Janet Stilson editor of MFM’s The Financial Manager magazine.  Dorfler’s former boss, Michael Jack, president and general manager of WNBC told Stilson, ““She’s not only an expert in her own area of the business but she’s one of those people who are intellectually curious, who will take the time to find out about other parts of this business.” Read more

Media General Pays Employees Back for Furloughs

Media General will be playing Santa this year for employees who were forced to take unpaid time off in 2011, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

In an internal memo posted to B&C’s website, president and chief executive officer, Marshall Morton, told employees, “To thank you for your loyalty and dedication, we are going to reinvest some of the dollars generated by our strong performance this year back into our employees.”

According to the article, Media General will give employees a cash payment equal to up to five days pay.  In order to receive the full five days pay, employees had to have been furloughed for five days or more during 2011.  In June 2011, employees were mandated to take 15 unpaid days  before the end of the year.

Study: Local TV Pay Doesn’t Keep Pace with Inflation

A new study by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hoftsra University found salaries at local television stations have been losing ground to inflation for the last ten years.

The study tracked salaries at local TV stations over a five and ten year period.  In the period between 2007 and 2012, while inflation rose by 12 percent, local TV pay rose by only 10.5 percent.  The pay gap widened over a ten year period with inflation rising by 28 percent while salaries rose by just 21.6 percent.

Between 2002 and 2012, the study showed only news directors (+35.9%), weathercasters ( (+37%), sports anchors (+28.6%), and assignment editors (+28.3%) beat the rise of inflation.  The biggest loser over the ten year period were web and mobile writers (+13.3%).  News assistants saw the largest drop (-3.1%) in pay between 2007 and 2012 compared to an inflation rate of 12 percent.

Click here to view the .pdf of the report.

[Variety]

NRJ Buys Seventh Small Station

According to TVNewsCheck, NRJ TV has just purchased WGCB in Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA from Red Lion Television for $9 million.

The article also states NRJ is buying up stations in hopes of cashing in on the upcoming incentive auctions where TV spectrum is sold off to make room for the increasing demand for mobile broadband.  Speculators focus on small stations in big markets where demand for mobile services is at a premium.

The FCC is planning to discuss the plan for the incentive auctions at their meeting next Friday.

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Local TV Stations the Real Winners This Election

According to Moody’s, in an article by The Hollywood Reporter, the entry of corporations and Super PACs into the political arena along with a close presidential race is benefitting broadcasters.

Thanks to a tight presidential race and unlimited political ad spending by corporations for the first time, political advertising on local television stations will grow by more than $500 million compared to 2010  to a total of $2.8 billion — marking the largest dollar increase in history — according to a report by Moody’s Investor Service released Thursday.

According to the report, political advertising in 2012 will count for around 9 percent of all local television revenue where normal growth is usually in the six to seven percent range.  The report also said the heaviest spending is still ahead in October and November especially in so-called swing states where either candidate could win depending on the current mood of the voters.

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Roberts Broadcasting Files For Bankruptcy

Four stations owned by Roberts Broadcasting — WRBU in St. Louis, WZRB in Columbia, SC, WRBJ in Jackson and WAZE in Evansville, IN — have filed for bankruptcy.

All four stations were previously affiliated with the UPN network, which merged with The WB in 2006 to become the CW. WRZB, WRBJ and WAZE remain CW-affiliates; WRBU is a MyNetworkTV-affiliate.

In a statement, Roberts president Steven Roberts said UPN folded shortly after the stations began broadcasting, “which threw off all of our business plans.”

“Fortunately, those problems are behind us and the stations are beginning to become profitable,” Roberts said. “It was difficult make the decision to file these cases, but the provisions of Chapter 11 will allow us to deal with the old debts, preserve the jobs of about 50 employees and continue to service these communities.”

4 Tips on How to Cover the Current Financial Crisis

Well, it doesn’t look like America’s (and the world’s) financial woes will stop being front page news anytime soon. So we emailed a handful of local TV newsers, asking them for advice on how to cover the current financial crisis. Here’s a quick list of tips based on their responses… Read more