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CEO of Channel 10 parent gets big bucks as workers get furloughs

June 28, 2011

Workers at WJAR-TV, Channel 10, and other properties of Virginia-based Media General are being told to take three weeks of unpaid leave by year’s end as a response to the sputtering economy. Meanwhile, Media General president and CEO Marshall N. Morton received an increase of more than $600,000 in his compensation from 2009 to 2010.

According to a Media General proxy statement issued earlier this year, Morton’s compensation climbed from $1,350,249 in 2009 to $1,986,713 in 2010. That pales in comparison with Morton’s $3,675,411 in compensation for 2008, which included a stock award of $1,715,350.

In a letter obtained by Richmond Biz Sense, Morton explained the recently announced furloughs this way:

“As we approach the midpoint of 2011, the much anticipated economic recovery continues to be unevenly felt across our markets, and, more recently, the economy has faltered,” Morton said in the letter.

“While new revenue and website growth initiatives have been successful, these efforts have not produced enough revenues to offset declines in our traditional lines of business.”

 A Media General spokesman told Richmond Biz Sense the furloughs at Channel 10 and other company properties will yield about $9 million in savings.

Word of Morton’s compensation was greeted with outrage at WJAR, sources say, following the announced furloughs and previous layoffs in Rhode Island. 

Channel 10 is one of relatively few union shops within Media General’s holdings of newspapers, TV stations and Web sites.

The union representing WJAR workers has told them they are not required to take the furloughs — a move that has reportedly pleased news managers since the station’s broadcasts won’t suffer as a result.

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