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ABC Cuts Broadcast Operations, Engineering Jobs

ABC eliminated 15-20 management positions in broadcast operations and engineering (BO&E), the department that oversees technical operations for the network.

The cuts, which were announced in a memo Wednesday, include three at ABC News in Washington, D.C., according to a source, where ABC has cut back or moved a number of positions already as a result of the move of Nightline production to New York.

But there were cuts in New York and Los Angeles, as well.

The memo suggested that the cuts were not part of an IBM-conducted review of ABC processes and procedures currently underway, stating that the review’s results are not yet in.

"The ABC Television Network has eliminated the jobs of certain managers in the network's operations and engineering division in New York, Los Angeles and Washington," ABC said in a prepared statement. "These positions were eliminated due to the increased efficiencies of advanced technology recently put in place at the network."

The employees were told of the cuts Tuesday, a source said.

According to another source familiar with the Washington staff cuts, a technical manager, scheduler and the tech guru who oversaw the creation of the news bureau's HD control room were cut in D.C.

ABC BO&E president Preston Davis sent the following memo Wednesday, according to a staffer who received the e-mail: "We all know that Disney/ABC is a great leader and innovator in the television business. However, in today's market, we are challenged with staying on top of an ever-changing media landscape where there is competition and almost daily advances in technology. To meet these challenges, we must adopt and embrace change so that we can deliver the best results to our clients.”

The memo continued, “In order to do this, we must always look for ways to improve our business and optimize our efficiency. As most of you know, we have retained IBM to look at our organization to review our structure and process. I have not yet received these results. And when I do, I will share the findings and recommendations with all of you."

It went on, "In the meantime, we have made the difficult decision to streamline some of the work that is currently being done by BO&E. Toward this end, we have identified certain positions that have been eliminated or are being phased out of our organization over the coming weeks. Employees affected by this have already been notified. For me, the idea of losing valued members of our organization is never easy, and we certainly could not have gotten where we are today without the hard work and support from all of you. I am pleased to work with such a dedicated group of people, and I want to thank all of you for your ongoing contributions. This time of transition can be challenging, and I look forward to working together as we continue to develop our business for future success.”

The memo concluded, “If you have any questions, please talk to your supervisors, human resources, or me."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.