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A Rare Second-Day Post: Tampa Tribune Sued for Age Discrimination; Idol Return Scores 37-million Viewers



There's so much news today, I had to post twice.

Minarcin First, former WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor and Tampa Tribune editor Milton "Pat" Minarcin has filed an age discrmination lawsuit against his former employers at the Tribune, alleging they demoted him in 2005 becuase he was too old and fired him when he complined to federal authorities.

According to Minarcin's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court:

-- He was demoted from a job as special projects editor at the Tribune in July 2005 and told to accept a lesser editing position with a salary smaller than his $97,366 pay (Minarcin, who according to Times files made about $195,000 annually when he left WTSP in 1998, started at the Tribune as an editor in 1999 making $55,055 annually)

-- He was given the busy work of revising the Tribune's ethics policy and developing standardized testing for editors candidates after his demotion.

-- He filed an age discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after noting three major editing jobs he was interested in were instead given to candidates Minarcin says were younger.

-- He was, at age 60, one of only three employees at the Tribune in their 60s. He also says just 20 percent of the Tribune's staff is over age 50, and three other employees in their 50s were let go during that year.

-- Six days after filing his EEOC complaint, he was offered an $18,000 settlement to drop the complaint and then fired.

Of course, allegations in lawsuits are just one side of the story. Media General and editors at the Tribune surely have another, although Tribune editor Janet Weaver and Media General failed to comment for their Jenniferhowenewspaper's own initial online version of the story.

Minarcin won nearly $300,000 in an arbitration decision over a similar lawsuit in 2002 against WTSP. His marriage to WTSP weekend anchor Jennifer Howe ended recently.

American Idol Busts Ratings Records

Idollogo5_1 The return Tuesday of American Idol set viewership records for the year, attracting 37-million viewers to its two-hour premiere on Fox TV.

Those numbers were the largest premiere ratings in Idol history — and the second-largest total viewership for a Fox program ever — a 4 percent increase from last year. The show also proved the highest-rated show of the current 2006-07 TV season so far in total viewers, teen viewers and viewers aged 18 to 49.

Locally, the numbers were equally significant, with Tampa Fox affiliate WTVT-Ch. 13 drawing more than 370,000 area households, according to ratings from Nielsen Media Research provided by WTVT. Drawing 28 percent of everyone watching TV locally from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Idol’s debut attracted more viewership in the Tampa Bay area than competing shows on ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates combined.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:37pm]


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