Connecticut Public Offers Buyouts To Its Longtime Employees | Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Public Offers Buyouts To Its Longtime Employees

Jul 25, 2019

Connecticut Public, the entity that operates Connecticut Public Television and WNPR radio, is offering voluntary buyouts to some longtime employees. 

The organization recently went through a leadership change. Its new CEO said it's up to those workers to decide whether to take the deal.

Mark Contreras, who took the helm of Connecticut Public earlier this year, said the buyouts were offered to 18 of about 100 total employees. They were given to workers who've been there 20 or more years.

Contreras declined to give details of the deal, but said this is not a cost-cutting move.

"It's not financially driven," Contreras said. "It's for folks who have spent many productive years here, and want to, you know, make a change in their lives. It's an opportunity, but it's not compulsory."

Contreras said the company is on firm financial footing, which allows them to offer the buyouts. Connecticut Public announced in 2017 it was receiving more than $30 million from the sale of digital spectrum space.

Contreras said that as Connecticut Public looks to grow its audience, cutting costs would be counterproductive.

But some employees, including those who didn't receive an offer are looking for answers. Colin McEnroe is a talk-show host at WNPR. He's been there 10 years.

"For some reason, they want to get some bodies out the door," McEnroe said. "And if it's not because of fiscal austerity — I guess that's what we'd like to know. If it's not because of fiscal austerity, what's the strategy behind it?"

WNPR's Morning Edition host Diane Orson confirmed she received a buyout offer.

John Dankosky, a host and editor, declined comment — but based on his years of service, would be eligible for the buyout.

McEnroe said potentially losing familiar voices means a connection with listeners could also be lost.

"They're sometimes the first voice you hear when you wake up in the morning," McEnroe said. "You know, they're the voice you hear on the ride home, if you're alone in your car. Maybe you can't wait to get home and tell your spouse about something that this voice told you."

When asked if he's concerned Connecticut Public's audience might be upset with staffing changes, Contreras reiterated the decision lies with employees, not the company.

NOTE: New England Public Radio News reported and edited this story independently at the request of Connecticut Public Radio. No Connecticut Public Radio staff or leadership had oversight or reviewed the story before publication.