WHYY ends longtime show, terminates staffers, closes bureau

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Philadelphia’s WHYY is ending it 46-year-old nightly news show Delaware Tonight on July 17, reports the Wilmington News-Journal. Beginning in August there’ll be expanded online news and a new weekly state public affairs show. Its two-year-old Dover bureau will close, and the Wilmington bureau, where Delaware Tonight is produced, will reduce its staff. All told, there’ll be a decrease from 13 full-time and three part-time employees to five full timers; those remaining staffers will have a weeklong unpaid furlough starting July 18. Chris Satullo, WHYY’s executive director of news and civic dialogue, said the moves are part of a transition from legacy radio and TV broadcasting to a multimedia source for news and entertainment. Although WHYY holds a broadcast license in Wilmington, its Delaware presence is targeted mainly to the major Philadelphia market. That annoys at least one resident — Gov. Jack Markell. He issued a statement saying, “WHYY’s decision to leave the daily airwaves leaves a critical hole for viewers and raises significant questions about their commitment to Delaware, which is where their FCC license is granted.” But in a statement to Current, WHYY President and CEO William J. Marrazzo said the changes “will enable us to allocate resources to provide much more news online and to enhance the WHYY-FM news service with additional reports from Delaware.”

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