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Staff Cuts As Granite, Barrington Team Up

Granite Broadcasting and Barrington broadcasting will be cutting jobs and combining resources in Syracuse, NY, and Peoria, IL, where NBC stations will be helping run the show for their ABC and CBS competition.

The partnership is described as a joint sales and shared service agreement. Under the terms, the operating station will provide advertising, sales, promotion, administrative services and selected programming to the other station. The two broadcasters said the arrangement "will create a better and more efficient operation" and will help them "realize a number of expense efficiencies," which will mean staff reductions.

Barrington will run Granite's WTVH-TV Syracuse (CBS affiliate), from the studios of WSTM-TV (an NBC affiliate) there, while in Peoria, Barrington's WHOI-TV (ABC) will be run out of Granite's WEEK-TV (NBC).

The companies say they will be able to do local and national news and community interest programming, hitting all the right FCC-friendly notes.

"This arrangement is an important step in the implementation of Granite's strategic vision to capitalize on our core strength of operating leading local stations in the nation's mid-size markets," said Granite Broadcasting CEO Don Cornwell. "It provides opportunities for substantial operating efficiencies by allowing us to use our existing infrastructure to expand the breadth of local news and services provided to the viewers of Central New York and Illinois, while enhancing the revenue and profitability of both stations."

"Together, our companies and stations will focus our combined resources on making these great stations more efficient, becoming even better community citizens and, at the same time, providing measurable benefits for our viewers," added Barrington CEO Jim Yager.

The companies did not say how many staffers would be exiting-a spokesperson was checking at press time-saying that they "expect to realize a number of expense efficiencies through the combining of resources and the reduction of some staff positions," adding that those let go would receive "generous" severance packages and job placement assistance.