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CHEK cuts noon news over summer

CHEK-TV has streamlined its executive, reduced some staff hours and axed its noon news for the summer as the employee-owned station makes changes designed to help it succeed in a challenging media environment.

CHEK-TV has streamlined its executive, reduced some staff hours and axed its noon news for the summer as the employee-owned station makes changes designed to help it succeed in a challenging media environment.

The new executive team includes the promotion of Bill Pollock to general manager from his post as operations manager, Peggy Heyer takes over as director of finance and human resources and Karin Hanwell is promoted to sales manager from account manager. Rob Germain remains as news director and Tanya Smith continues as community relations and promotions manager.

“This tightens up the management team and creates a team that will relate to each other and work well together. I expect this team will pull CHEK through that whole morass,” said Roy Gardner, who took over as president and GM from John Pollard in March to oversee the establishment of a new management team and work on programming issues.

The cutting of the noon news is as much about finding cost savings as it is a reflection of the realities of television in the summer with a small audience and little in the way of advertiser revenue.

“I guess it’s a combination of things — the audience isn’t there to support it and neither are advertisers. It makes sense to pull back,” Gardner said.

Instead of a televised noon news, there will be an online news update loaded onto CHEK’s website. The station will also look at getting that update on air as well.

That move will mean the loss of 1.2 full-time equivalent staff. Gardner said most of that will be done via reduced hours, though one part-time employee is expected to lose a job.

“We don’t need the crew in so early. Now one crew will cover the supper and late news,” he said.

The station is expected to bring the noon news back in the fall. “As a small, local company, we are always looking for ways to streamline costs while balancing the needs of our audience,” said Germain. “By offering content online we know viewers can still stay up-to-date on the latest news while we remain responsible to our bottom line.”

Gardner will step down as acting GM on May 31, but will remain with the station’s board of directors.