ABC Offering Buyout To NABET Staffers

According to a copy of one of the letters, ABC has sent buyout offers to NABET-represented engineering staffers in L.A., New York, and Washington, as well as news bureas in Miami, Atlanta, Boston and at WABC-TV New York.

Concluding that there needs to be a reduction in staff, "through voluntary means if possible," the network is offering the deal to select editors, camera operators, lighting and audio engineers, some video graphics people, engineering maintenance, and technical directors.

The way the process works, the offer is extended to all staffers represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, who have until Friday, March 24, to say whether or not they are interested in the buyout.

The company will then decide who it wants to resign, and extend an offer by April 3. Those chosen will have until May 19 to accept, with the network saying it would try to accommodate those who want to leave before that date, and might want to extend the end date for some of the buyouts.

The network will have information sessions in New York March 14 and 15, in Washington March 16 and in L.A. March 21 to discuss the buyout.

The need for Washington engineers, for example, has been reduced by the move of much of the show's production to New York after the change to a three-anchor format.

"Advances in technology continue to rapidly change the way we do business," said ABC spokeswoman Julie Hoover, "and this buyout offer reflects the new realities of the media landscape."

John Eggerton

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.