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ABC Lays Off 31 in Broadcast Operations, Engineering

Layoffs came down at ABC in New York on Wednesday morning (Jan. 27).  Broadcast operations and engineering announced that it would eliminate 31 positions, representing a little over 5% of BOE's 575-strong workforce.

Preston Davis, ABC's president of broadcast operations and engineering, said that the positions eliminated were primarily management positions, mostly at the director or manager level, and were not related to installing new technology such as automation systems.

"We're taking a hard look at job functions, and figuring out what job functions can be consolidated or eliminated," Davis told B&C. "There is no single technology driver for this. We're taking a critical look at the business, as we've been doing for the last decade, so we can work smarter and with fewer people."

BOE plans to eliminate more jobs later this year, bringing the total reduction in staff to about 70 positions. Some of those cuts will involve union positions.

The cuts are the latest round at ABC in New York, the home of the network's news division, which is enduring an ongoing restructuring process. 

Layoffs began at the network's Washington, D.C. bureau in 2007. Last spring, about 20 people from the finance and operations units in New York lost their jobs.

In January 2009, 35 staffers were let go at the newsmagazines, News Now and digital as well as marketing, research and sales. Also, 60 unfilled positions were eliminated and political staff hired to cover the 2008 presidential was thinned. Last October, about 20 staffers at ABC News Radio in New York and Washington, D.C. were let go in the division's editorial, production and technical divisions.