GISL faces shutdown, 50 workers to go… and CNMG to sell 2 radio stations

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The Government Information Services Ltd., (GISL) is facing imminent shutdown, and this would throw more than 50 workers on the breadline.

In addition, the Government is moving to sell off two of its radio stations at Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG).

This would result in additional job losses.

Already, several contracted employees at GISL have been sent home at the expiry of their work agreements.

GISL operates Channel Four television, which has virtually no viewers.

The Government is moving swiftly to parcel off its media operations, in light of revelations of an annual $36 million drain on taxpayers.

A Cabinet Sub-Committee is reviewing a report of the joint CNMG-GISL Board of Directors, but the Government is already moving to whittle down both companies.

Some GISL workers have been shunted to CNMG, while others, including occasional television newsreader Verna Bharath, have not had their employment contracts renewed.

The aim of moving GISL staff to CNMG, according to well-placed sources, is to keep preferred workers on the payroll for as long as possible.

There are plans to sell off two non-performing CNMG radio stations – Next 99.1 FM and Talk City 91.1 FM – which are burdened with high labour costs, almost no listeners and virtually no advertising revenues.

The authorities are planning to keep Sweet 100.1 FM, which attracts advertising revenues at Christmas time and enjoys moderate audience ratings.

For the time being, there are also plans to retain the television station – CTV – but to make radical changes in format.

There is to be a major slash in the purchase of foreign programmes.

The station has recently undergone one of its worst financial periods.

There was a historic high $2 million purchase of Carnival broadcast rights, with returns were just over one-third of that sum.

Since the 7 p.m. newscast attracts little audience, major staff cuts and adjustments are planned.

Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie recently admitted that he does not watch the CTV newscast.

There are reports of low worker morale, especially as a result of knee-jerk staff decisions sparked by a politically-connected manager.

The manager, who is related to a relevant government official, has reportedly been pushing all the employment knobs.

Acting CNMG Chief Executive Officer Julien Rogers is said to be frustrated at the mediocre talent and lack of ambition among workers.

“Rogers is discovering that the company is the media’s version of CEPEP and URP,” said a company insider close to the acting CEO.

“He is finding that CNMG is home to media workers with little job options and not much professional drive.”

Rogers is employed at a total monthly sum of $51,000.

There is widespread speculation that the Cabinet Sub-Committee would recommend the Government’s diversification of its entire media portfolio.

CNMG’s best asset is its prime real estate at upper Maraval Road.

The operations are close to the tower hosting the administrative offices of Ansa McAl, which owns the rival Guardian media house.

CNMG’s ratings and revenues are expected to slide further in light of major developments in the media sector.

The activities include the Massy Group’s extensive investment in a news television station, cable TV and an online service, which are expected to be fully launched next year.

Year-to-date industry advertising revenues are lower than they were last year.

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