A-D parent Freedom furloughs employees
Faced with continuing industry weakness in advertising spending, Freedom Communications Inc., parent company of the Appeal-Democrat and Tri-County Newspapers, has announced a companywide furlough program. Employees at all levels of the company will take five days off work, without pay, between April 1 and June 30.
"We need to continue to reduce expenses while delivering our valuable products and services to our customers and advertisers. Of the many options we considered, a furlough provides the savings we're seeking, while still allowing us to maximize operations," Freedom CEO Scott Flanders said in a statement released Friday.
Flanders added: "Freedom continues to generate positive cash flow, and we see the furlough program as a sound business and financial move to help weather the present severe economic conditions that we believe will improve by year end."
Freedom employees and supervisors will work together to schedule furloughs in a way that minimizes the impact on customers and operations, Flanders added.
This announcement mirrors actions taken by many of Freedom's media industry peers, including MediaNews, Media General, McClatchy and Gannett. Other recent cost-cutting measures implemented by Freedom include suspension of the 401(k) match and implementation of a wage freeze.
About 115 associates are employed by the Appeal-Democrat and the Tri-County Newspapers publications (Willows Journal, Corning Observer, Colusa Sun-Herald, Orland Press-Register).
"The news of furloughs is disappointing but not unexpected, given the current economic climate and the special challenges faced by the newspaper industry," said Len La Barth, Appeal-Democrat editor. "We will continue to deliver products that meet the needs of our readers and advertisers."
Freedom owns 33 daily and 77 weekly newspapers and eight TV broadcast stations.