Sipa USA via AP
Sinclair Broadcast Group is shrinking its workforce by 5%, letting go of several hundred employees as a result of the “profound impact” of the pandemic, said the company in a statement. The company employs over 9,211 people, meaning that approximately 460 staffers were affected by the downsizing.
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt across all sectors of the economy, something that can have a profound impact on a company as diversified as ours,” according to a statement from a Sinclair spokesperson. “From local businesses and advertisers to distributors and partners, no component of our business’s ecosystem has been fully shielded from the impact of the global pandemic. In response to this, we are currently undergoing enterprise-wide reductions across our workforce, including corporate headquarters, to ensure we are well-positioned for future success.”
Sinclair owns several national networks, and owns or operates 23 regional sports networks and 190 television stations across 88 markets. Amid an ongoing shift to on-demand viewing, Sinclair is launching a three-hour morning news program for over a third of its TV stations, and in 2019 launched the STIRR ad-supported free streaming service, featuring news and sports.
The broadcast conglomerate is not the only media company to enact layoffs this past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Walt Disney Company, for instance, is letting go of 32,000 employees in its theme parks and resorts division this year as Disneyland remains closed almost a year into the pandemic and its other parks have limited capacity. And data from Challenger, Gray and Christmas last fall pointed to over 28,000 job cuts in the media sector by the end of October 2020.
Variety's Elaine Low contributed to this post.