Three top executives are out of Media General’s Tampa, FL operation, which includes WFLA-TV (NBC), the Tampa Tribune and TBO.com. Staffers were also told that new layoffs are coming.
John Schauss, Media General’s VP of Market Operations, flew in from Richmond headquarters on Wednesday (11/2) and also sent Tampa staffers a memo announcing details of the changes. “Departing our Tampa operations as of today are John Schueler, President, Market Leader-Florida; Denise Palmer, Vice President-News; and Cathy Helean, Vice President-Marketing. John, Denise and Cathy have been dedicated to our Tampa operations during their years of service, and I thank them for their hard work on many initiatives launched during their tenure. John will assume new duties in Richmond, reporting to me,” the memo said.
John Cottingham, currently President, Market Leader-Mid-South, has been named interim GM of WFLA. Terry Jamerson, Group Leader for Media General’s Central Virginia properties, has been named interim publisher of the Tampa Tribune. Both will report directly to Schauss.
Don North continues as News Director of WFLA. WNCN-TV Raleigh GM Brad Moses, who worked at WFLA as marketing director for five years, will assist Cottingham.
In a Tampa Tribune story posted on the TBO.com website Schauss was quoted as saying that plans to focus the newspaper more on digital projects will “necessarily” include new layoffs, likely by year’s end. Media General has noted efforts by regional competitor, The St. Petersburg Times, to expand its footprint, having announced a name change to Tampa Bay Times, effective New Year’s Day.
RBR-TVBR observation: Media General last month reported Q3 results that came in below Wall Street expectations. The stock was as low as $1.14 in trading last month, but has recently rebounded back above $3.00. Is that because investors think the company is improving? Or is it because CEO Marshall Morton started talking favorably about the idea of selling some stations?