Univision today executed layoffs at stations across the country, leaving scores of on-air talent, videographers, producers and editors without jobs.
Sources tell Media Moves about 100 employees were eliminated nationwide from news departments as well as other divisions.
Here’s an initial list of casualties:
At Univision New York, weekday anchor Jorge Viera, producer Lawrence Linares and news operations coordinator Gina Alvarado Zapata were among those affected by the cuts.
In Houston, sports anchor Enrique González, reporter Angélica Gómez and cameraman Mauricio García.
In Phoenix, executive producer Patricio Gutiérrez.
In Los Angeles, reporter Luis Zaragoza.
In San Francisco: sports anchor William Bonilla
In Fresno: news director Sandy Sirias and reporter and weekend anchor Francisco Mireles were laid off. Sacramento news director Pablo Iacub will now be regional news director, overseeing Sacramento and Fresno news departments.
In Miami: weekend sports anchor Raúl Striker and News Director Roberto Vizcón.
Chris Peña, SVP News of Local Media since March of last year, will take over Vizcón’s role. Last month, Univision hired Christine Portela, as Director of News Operations for the Univision Station Group, facilitating Peña’s added responsibilities.
More names will be published once they are confirmed.
According to sources, due to an unfavorable first quarter, the company was looking to trim $5 to 6 million dollars from its operational budget.
A company spokesperson denies that is the case and released the following statement:
“We recently took steps to realign key aspects of our local news, operations and sales organizations so that we can become more agile and better equipped to meet the needs of our community, audience and partners. The changes, which have resulted in some job eliminations also allow us to create new opportunities as our business and our audience’s needs evolve.”
Shortly after 6 pm ET, Univision’s Chief Local Media Officer sent out the following internal memo about the changes:
From: Corporate Communications
Sent: Monday, April 03, 2017 6:08 PM
Subject: A New Vision for Local Media | Una nueva visión para Medios Locales
It goes without saying that our industry is changing, and in the past few years, we’ve all witnessed the evolution of our audience and how and where they consume content. Our listeners, viewers and users demand programming that is relevant and available on multiple platforms at any time. In order to meet and satisfy our audience’s changing needs while we also drive growth, we as an organization must transform and evolve, too. We must work together across the company to be more innovative and deliver new ideas and experiences for our audience and clients; this goes not only for our core business but – very importantly – for the immense opportunities ahead of us on social, digital and events, among others.
I’m very proud that we have the no. 1 early or late news in top markets and that our audience share has increased by double digits in radio. To keep our audience well engaged and to sustain our growth, it is paramount that we continue to make strategic changes in in our business. Below, I outline the areas where we are making changes so that we can continue to fulfill our mission, and be the best-in-class local content creators that I know we are.
News – News is more important than ever and having reliable sources of news and information continues to be critical for our community. Which is why we need to continue to reimagine how we inform – that includes how our teams gather and produce news and content. In a time where there is an abundance of news and information sources, we need to equip our teams with the latest tools to enable an even more agile news operation that can respond to breaking news on a moment’s notice. Expanding the number of video journalists is one of several developments that will allow us to do just that. We’ll soon be announcing some exciting initiatives that are going to further propel our news operation into the future.
Production & Operations – We are moving towards realigning our operations to better leverage our exclusive capabilities and expertise in TV, Radio and Digital while enhancing our commercial client solutions. Aligning our assets across the country will enable consistency in our approach and operations, develop a stronger on-air presence and create unique and hyper-local content that will allow us to better serve our audiences.
Sales – The market shifts quickly; nobody knows that better than our sales teams. The only way we can keep up and execute on our priorities is to become a more flexible and innovative sales organization. By realigning our teams and organizing National Radio around a regionally focused discipline, we’ll be able to get to market faster with more boots on the ground and increase our presence. By leveraging our strengths and resources across markets, I have no doubt that we’ll be able to work smarter and better for our clients.
Change is a constant and an opportunity, albeit never easy, but I’m confident that this new vision allows us to build on our strong foundation and the incredible legacy we have with serving our communities. I will always say that the folks who work in our local stations are the heartbeat of this company and the ties that bind us to our local communities. Your passion and tenacity continue to be valued and will undoubtedly be an asset as we write the next chapter of our future.
Thank you for everything that you do. I look forward to addressing our vision and answering your questions in a forthcoming employee meeting in the weeks to come.
* 4/4/17: Story was updated to include layoffs in Fresno and San Francisco.