Dear TEGNA Employees:
Since the announcement of Standard General’s transaction with TEGNA, I, along with Standard General and TEGNA’s leadership team, have been working hard to do the work necessary to obtain regulatory approvals and prepare for a successful closing of the transaction later this year.
As part of this process, you may have read comments in the press from groups opposing the transaction speculating that Standard General will be cutting journalism and laying off journalists at the Company’s stations. These comments are simply untrue.
Standard General and I have always placed a high value on local journalism and have no intention, and have never had the intention, of reducing news or news staff at TEGNA stations. In fact, and as we have represented to the FCC, we do not intend to reduce station- level staffing following the transaction.
To the contrary, we expect to compete vigorously in all markets, which will require continued investment in local journalism and newsgathering operations.
Our commitment to journalism is backed by both Standard General’s and my track records of leading local broadcast groups over the last 12 years, including those at Young Broadcasting, Media General and most recently, Standard Media Group.
At each of these groups, we improved performance by investing in local journalism and local content. After Standard General and its founder Soohyung Kim, as capital partners, helped Young Broadcasting emerge from bankruptcy, $25 million was invested in its 10 television markets over a period of just 18 months.
From 2013 to 2016, our efforts not only resulted in increased hours of local news, but also led to numerous success stories. One such success story was the restoration of WFLA as a strong, iconic station in Tampa, Florida, the station having suffered a significant loss in rank following cost reductions and Media General’s sale of The Tampa Tribune, events which occurred prior to Standard General’s involvement in 2013. Consistent with how Standard General operated these larger groups, at Standard Media, we are proud of the fact that we have grown local journalism by increasing our newsroom staff by 28% during Standard General’s ownership. These increases were made during a time when other broadcasters were responding to the pandemic by making cuts.
Having been a station general manager and working with newsrooms for more than 30 years, I firmly believe that strong local journalism is an essential component to a successful local broadcast station.
While I will have much more to share with you in the future about our post-closing plans, I wanted you to hear these points from me and reiterate our commitment to building on the many successes you have already achieved. I look forward to meeting you in person in the future and to working with you all to create new opportunities for the Company.