Consultant fees questioned as U-Fla. stations gird for layoffs

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“People who do what I do get paid a lot more than that,” says Mike Harding, a media consultant who is earning $10,000 a month to lead a restructuring of the University of Florida’s media properties, including WUFT-TV/FM in Gainesville. The Gainesville Sun reports that Harding, a commercial TV turn-around specialist, is being paid with funds drawn equally from the university’s four broadcast stations and its College of Journalism and Communications. Paul Gordon, a veteran media ad sales exec also retained by Dean John Wright, earns $69,000 annually as interim director of WRUF-AM, a struggling sports/talk outlet, and WRUF-FM, a rock station. The Sun also reports that Wright plans to lay off five station employees within the next few weeks. “People are being laid off, and they’re spending all this money on consultants,” says Rita Patterson, a “friend” of station employees who was quoted by the Sun.

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