Friday, September 9, 2011

Plum TV closes Sun Valley operation

5 local employees lose jobs in massive nationwide layoff


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

All five local Plum TV employees were causalities of a massive layoff announced Tuesday and affecting all eight operations of the company's nationwide network.

Plum Sun Valley will continue to be broadcast on cable Channel 13, but with the layoffs, the television station will not be producing local stories, said John Patrick Crum, a producer with Plum Sun Valley until Tuesday.

Crum said he was called Monday evening at 8 p.m. and told that the layoffs would be announced during a company-wide conference call Tuesday.

"I was laid off with at least 50 other employees nationwide," Crum said.

Until Tuesday, the company employed about 85 people.

The Aspen Times reported this week that a company restructuring plan, including layoffs, would affect Plum TVs operations in Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Sun Valley, Miami Beach, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the Hamptons. According to The Aspen Times, the company is having trouble meeting payroll and has about $6.7 million in debt.

"It's funding issues," Crum said.

He said Plum TV has promised to reimburse employee expenses and pay final paychecks and accrued vacation time but has not said when those payments will be made.

Plum Sun Valley began operation in 2006 when Plum TV, headquartered in New York City, purchased local television channel KSVT from the late Clint Stennett.

In more than five years of operation, Plum Sun Valley offered 24-hour resort lifestyle programming with features produced both locally and at other Plum TV locations.

Besides Crum, two other producers, a sales and marketing representative and an office manager were let go from the Plum Sun Valley office in Hailey.

Crum said Plum TV will keep some of its operations going, but most are "in a situation like us where we had to lock up the shop."

Danielle Travers, former sales and marketing representative for Plum Sun Valley, said the announcement came as a shock.

"It was pretty straightforward and it was pretty blunt," Travers said. "We probably don't know much more than you know—we've been told practically nothing."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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