Leslie Turk

KATC employees taking unpaid furlough

by Leslie Turk

Employees at KATC-TV3, whose parent company is owned by South Carolina-based Evening Post Publishing Co., are taking a week off without pay this quarter as part of a corporate-wide cost cutting measure.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an employee at the station tells the INDsider that everyone, including management and top executives, are included in the program. KATC is owned by Cordillera Communications, a subsidiary of privately held Evening Post.

KATC General Manager Andrew Shenkan declined to comment for this story, saying he would neither confirm nor deny the furlough program.

A March 24 Editor & Publisher story also indicates the program affects all of Evening Post’s employees. Evening Post owns 14 newspapers and 13 television stations in nine states. Because some of the company’s properties are suffering from declining advertising revenue, the move is a strategy to avoid more layoffs.

The KATC employee says the furlough program has gone over surprisingly well with the local staff because of Cordillera’s record for taking care of its employees. At a time when most companies were cutting back, Cordillera bonused a week’s pay to employees in November. “We have gotten many, many bonuses over the years,” the employee says.

KATC is doing well because the local economy is outperforming most of the rest of the country, but that’s not necessarily the case for all of Evening Post’s properties. “This is an unfortunate sign of the times,” Aiken Standard Publisher Scott Hunter told E&P. “Our newspaper remains strong and profitable, but our parent company, Evening Post Publishing, recognizes the nation’s economic conditions and is prudently avoiding future financial concerns.”