GPB laying off staffers as it outsources station master-control operations

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Georgia Public Broadcasting is laying off eight full-time employees and nine part-timers as it outsources its master-control operations over the next 90 to 120 days, station spokesperson Nancy Zintak told Current.

Transitioning its master control to Encompass Digital Media in Atlanta will save the state network around $300,000 annually, Zintak said.

Zintak said GPB “looked very carefully” at the two CPB-backed public-broadcasting centralcasters, the Jacksonville Digital Convergence Alliance that serves seven stations from Florida, and Centralcast LLC, running controls for 13 stations in New York and New Jersey. A “huge part” of the decision, Zintak said, was that Encompass is an Atlanta-based company. “And, Encompass is up and running now,” she said. The digital media services firm has facilities in the United States, United Kingdom and Asia. Its clients include A&E Networks, CBS, Disney/ABC, BBC Worldwide, and Discovery Networks, according to TVNewsCheck — which calls the Encompass Atlanta operation “huge, complex and the first of its kind in American broadcasting.”

GPB runs one main HD channel and two digital channels, GPB Kids and GBP Knowledge, which is a hybrid of the pub-affairs/documentary World channel and educational programming. GPB’s main channel feeds nine stations covering 98 percent of the state.

Zintak said an employment consultant is working with affected employees, and Encompass is interviewing some for possible positions there.