Bermuda Broadcasting lays off three staff


Three staff have been made redundant at the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, the firm announced last night.

The Royal Gazette understands that departures include Jay Philpott, who goes by DJ Radigun and started on Power 95 in 2015.

Also leaving is radio presenter Shelley Johnson, or Shelly Thunder, who presents the drive-home programme.

A company spokesman said the broadcaster had been in “a state of transition for several years and harsh economic realities have forced the company to make some very difficult decisions”.

The spokesman added that the company had been compelled to drop the three jobs “in order to decrease costs and retain our financial viability”.

He said the redundancies were made after consultation with the Bermuda Industrial Union, in line with the company’s collective bargaining agreement.

The spokesman added: “It is with great reluctance that we make these redundancies today. The BBC first started broadcasting as ZBM1 more than 70 years ago and is an integral part of the fabric of this community.

“And it’s as true today as it was when we first went on air — that an independent news media is vital to the overall health of our island democracy.

“We value every individual we employ and part with those persons made redundant today with deep and sincere regret.

“The BBC reluctantly makes these cuts now in order to fight another day and continue to broadcast to the people of this country.”

He added that it was a “gruelling, heart-wrenching process”, but said that “every alternative option was thoroughly explored”.

The spokesman said sacrifices had been made as the company modernised. The company also contends with pirating of its content.

He said the company was the longest-established broadcaster on the island and took its responsibilities seriously. Other problems cited were “highly unreasonable demands for certain music royalties” and the loss of advertising revenue to social media.

The spokesman said: “On many fronts, the BBC is battling against large, foreign-owned corporations and other entities that simply don’t play fair in Bermuda and certainly do not share the sense of civic duty that drives much of our decision-making.

“Fortunately, Government is aware of the issues that negatively affect the broadcasting sector and we are working on solutions to ensure that the BBC continues to provide its valued broadcasting services.”

To read the company’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

UPDATE: This story has been amended to reflect that Mike Sharpe, a longstanding broadcaster, was not among redundancies, but is to part amicably from the company on early retirement.

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Published Feb 1, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 1, 2019 at 4:40 pm)

Bermuda Broadcasting lays off three staff

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