New survey shows local TV staffs filling more hours with fewer people for less pay
Based on a survey of among all non-satellite TV stations and a random collection of radio stations, the survey found jobs declined by 4.3 percent and salaries dropped by 4.4 percent, while stations set a record for the number of news hours on the air.
In other words, fewer people working longer hours for less money.
The study provides a snapshot of an industry struggling to save money and increase revenues, tamping down on salary costs and personnel while increasing the hours of news to bring in more advertising revenue.
This year's study, released Sunday at the Radio Television News Directors Association convention in Las Vegas, also found:
*Television news shed 1,200 jobs in 2008. The 4.3 percent decline was greater than the 3.8 percent drop in overall U.S. employment. U.S. newspapers reported cutting newsroom staff by 5,900 jobs or 11.3 percent in 2008.
*Almost four times as many stations reported cutting jobs as adding jobs. Hardest hit by salary cuts were news reporters (-13.3 percent), news anchors (-11.5), weather casters (-9.1) and sports anchors (-8.9).
*The typical station added a half-hour of local news per weekday in 2008, setting a new record for the amount of news -- 4.6 hours per weekday. Weekends stayed the same.
*The number of stations running news in 2008 dropped from 774 to 770. So far in 2009, three stations have stopped originating news, but three stations have started or announced plans to start local news, keeping the total at 770.
*Of the four stations that stopped originating news in 2008, two are running news from another station. In 2009, two of the three stations that stopped originating news are running news from another station.
*Radio staffing stayed the same, with the same percentage reporting cuts as those reporting hires, typically of one person. Radio salaries declined 1.8 percent, and the amount of news dropped slightly.