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Harris Cuts U.S. Broadcast Workforce 5%

Harris Cuts U.S. Broadcast Workforce 5%

Harris is eliminating jobs to help contain expenses.
Last week, RW Online reported Harris intended to eliminate 100 jobs, some in the U.S. and others in its European division, which includes Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
A spokeswoman confirmed a staff reduction of approximately 5% of U.S. positions. Before the cuts Harris employed 1,150 people in its broadcast division.
Some of those were positions left vacant when employees left the company earlier and some of those were part-time positions, according to Harris.
When asked about positions in other countries, Manager of Communications Martha Rapp said the company is still reorganizing its European operations.
Rapp said the cuts are meant to “return Harris to a level of profitability. We’ve been able to maintain our market position, but the market is down.”
Speculation among broadcast sources is that Harris isn’t meeting its DTV equipment sales targets as broadcasters purchase lower-power transmitters to cover their city-grade contours only with a digital signal, rather than covering their entire coverage area with a higher power unit.
Harris Chairman, President and CEO Howard Lance was blunt about the situation last week when he announced the Orkand acquisition, a $66 million cash deal for a company that provides technical services and information technology for U.S. government agencies.
Lance said the broadcast division’s profits are small and the microwave division is losing money. “We need to have those two segments contributing in a material way to our earnings.”
Harris wants those two divisions to earn more “so the market attaches some value to those businesses and we’d see that reflected in a higher share price,” said Lance.
Orkand revenue for the 12 months ended in March 2004 was $80 million.
Harris has reorganized itself into five business units: Television Broadcast Systems, Radio Broadcast Systems, Broadcast Systems Europe, Broadcast Automation Solutions and Networking & Government Systems.
The restructuring is intended to streamline operations and cut operational costs, said Rapp.