[Below is an email response I received from Mark DeSantis, president and general manager of Peoria operations for Granite Broadcasting... Take from this what you want, but please go to WJBC and listen to a March 2nd interview with WEEK staff members Lee Ranson and Mike Dimmick about the situation.]
Thanks for your thoughts regarding the discussions we are currently having with the AFTRA unit in our newsroom. I understand your points and I am frustrated as well since information now being disseminated on a facebook page, and a video on it, is false. These emotional kinds of things often occur in labor negotiations with unions often presenting conjecture, rumor or making false statements to help garner support.
While we have proposed modifications to the labor agreement that reflect the current industry and technological reality, there is no current plan and we have made no proposal to move our local news operation out of Central Illinois. In fact over the last two years we have added positions to our news operation to better serve Central Illinois, the only local news operation to increase staff in that same time frame. All WEEK and WHOI newscasts will continue to be produced and aired from the East Peoria facilities as they always have. The union representatives are not reporting the facts.
As you may know, no station in this area has the rich history of local community support and service as WEEK. In addition to the 11 hours of local news we produce each day, for almost 40 years we have produced and aired the St. Jude Telethon, we continue to produce and air The Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, support the Race For The Cure, Buddy Check 25, Steamboat, Easter Seals, The Center for the Prevention of Abuse, and many more local community organizations. I have run this operation for 14 years and we have been, remain and will continue to be THE local news, information and community resource for Central Illinois.
We also continue to produce and air The Children’s Miracle Network Telethon, support the Race For The Cure, Steamboat, Easter Seals, The Center for the Prevention of Abuse, and many more local community organizations. WEEK will remain and continue to be THE local news, information and community resource for Central Illinois.
For our part, please know that we are committed to working amicably and professionally with the union to reach a mutual agreement. Our goal is a successful resolution for both WEEK and our employees, which is the outcome that will best serve you as well as the community.
In the meantime, below is my direct number. Feel free to contact me directly with any concerns you might have.
All the best and thanks for watching WEEK-TV.
309 698-3850 firstname.lastname@example.org
SP Granite Broadcasting Corp.
WAOE Owned by Four Seasons LLC
WHOI Owned by Barrington Broadcasting Corp.