Scripps Plans $30M Cost Cuts; Radio Stations Put Up For Sale

The E.W. Scripps Co. announced a restructuring aimed at cutting $30 million in annual costs.

The company also said it plans to sell its 34 radio stations, and hired broker Kalili & Co.

The company will be putting a higher priority on its TV station portfolio at a time when regulations are changing. The company has also been investing in digital properties, such as Cracked, and acquired Katz Broadcasting last year.

“Today, Scripps is a dynamic leader in the media industry through its strong local TV station portfolio, its growing multicast network, its national news network and its podcasting business,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “The enterprise-wide restructuring positions us well for continued growth while maintaining high-quality journalism as our central focus.”

Scripps will be reducing head count over the next year and a half. One published report put the cuts at 400 employees out of current total of 4,200. Some of that will be accomplished by centralizing service and technology, sharing resources and eliminating what it called redundant positions.

Related: ESPN to Lay Off 150 Workers

“Our restructuring analysis also led us to determine the time is right to find a new owner for our radio group that can provide the focus and resources the stations and their creative, devoted employees deserve,” Symson said.

The company took a $2.4 million restructuring charge in the third quarter. There will be $2 million charge in the fourth quarter and it estimates a $4 million charge in the first quarter and expects to take smaller quarterly charges into 2019.

Analyst Marci Ryvicker of Wells Fargo called the restructuring announcement “much needed,” adding it wasn’t a big surprise.

Ryvicker estimated that Scripps would be able to get between $46 million and $61 million for its radio segment.

Scripps stock was up 2.56% in mid-day trading.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.