Alabama Public Television slashes 25% of workforce

The APT studios in downtown Montgomery are slashing numerous jobs due to budget strains.
The APT studios in downtown Montgomery are slashing numerous jobs due to budget strains.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Public Television in Montgomery has been a connection between its viewers and state government, particularly the State Legislature.

But now the local studios are going dark, leaving more than a dozen employees without jobs, the victims of the state's deep budget cuts.

APT News Director, Jon Beans says, " I'm disappointed and upset. We have a lot of hardworking people that don't have a job that now have to deal with that anxiety.  It's people I've worked with for a number of years."

Beans, now worried about his family's fiscal future and his coworkers.  He led the operation inside APT's Montgomery studio for more than 20 years.  A place where work felt more like a calling.

"What we did was a public service.  We gave people a chance to hear their news in a longer format."

Beans says he's most proud of the depth APT brought to its viewers.  As for a disappointment: not having the opportunity to see the Bingo Corruption Trial through to a verdict.  A historic story for Montgomery and the state; but not for his newsroom.

"You always think, this will never happen to me, but that is the reality we live in with this economy.  You always have to be prepared for that."

19 employees were laid off across the state; 2 in Birmingham, 2 in Huntsville and 15 in Montgomery.

Allen Pizatto at APT's corporate office told WSFA 12 news the Montgomery operation absorbed the largest hit because it generated the least amount of revenue.  Pizatto didn't elaborate on how the public station generates that funding.

The Montgomery studio will officially close on July 31st.

Copyright 2011 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.