Broadcaster WORA-TV in Mayagüez, owned by Telecinco Inc., announced the start of a restructuring process in response to the decision by Telemundo Puerto Rico not to renew its contract agreement.
As this media outlet reported this week, Telemundo notified WORA of its decision to rescind its contract which according to documents obtained from the Federal Communications Commission’s website, the agreement was valid through Jan. 1, 2020. However, Telemundo had until June 1, 2019 to provide notice of its decision not to renew.
“This decision has an immediate impact on the income station’s projection, so the station is now in need to restructure the company, including the local edition of WORA TV’s newscasts that were transmitted via Telemundo,”said Pedro Rua, CEO of Telecinco Inc.
Earlier today, the station’s news staff — about 11 reporters and production crew — were informed of the immediate cancellation of all of the editions.
Another 20 or so employees remain at the station, until further notice, this media outlet learned.
“It is public knowledge that Puerto Rico’s television industry was greatly affected as a result of Hurricane María, where multiple television channels on the island have had to adjust to a new reality,” said Rúa in a written statement.
“Despite this, we would have preferred to avoid restructuring, we remain committed to continue to operate our programming and channels, offering excellent choices for our viewers,” said Rúa.
“We appreciate the confidence that the television viewing public places in WORA and likewise, we thank Telemundo of Puerto Rico for their patronage over the past years,” he concluded.
According to a separate document, on May 23, 2019, Telemundo entered into an agreement with Televicentro de Puerto Rico — a competitor that operates WAPA TV in San Juan and two repeater stations, WTIN-Ponce and WNJX-Mayagüez — to broadcast Telemundo’s station on their network.
Telemundo will rebroadcast the signal of its primary channel, WKAQ on a 24/7 schedule, except for Sunday, if WAPA chooses, and its multicast channel Punto2 on the repeater stations. Telemundo will be responsible for the salaries, taxes, insurance, and other production costs incurred by WAPA’s repeater stations.
Through the agreement, residents along the island’s southern and eastern flanks may be able to still catch the Telemundo signal through over-the-air antennas.
This is the second regional television station to experience operational changes in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the government’s public broadcasting station, WIPM in Mayagüez was shuttered due to budget constraints.