When Turner Broadcasting announced job cuts yesterday that would eliminate nearly 1,500 employees, many TCM fans began to worry about the fate of their favorite channel – and the loyal men and women “behind the curtain” who work to keep classic film relevant and accessible.
But one viewer decided to do something about it.
Elise Crane Derby, a Los Angeles based writer and media blogger, took to her blog to pen an open letter to Turner’s New York-based CEO John Martin, the man who will dictate the headcount reductions that are expected to take effect within the next few weeks. Reports have indicated that 975 Atlanta-based employees will be laid-off, more than 15 percent of Turner’s workforce in the city of their founding.
“TCM is a family to us and we can’t imagine a single person is expendable,” Derby wrote on The LA Rambler. “It is every one one of TCM’s employees who have earned its viewers fierce loyalty and created a channel that is unparalleled.”
And she’s not stopping there. Derby is encouraging other TCM fans to show their support for the channel and its staff members by posting letters on their own blogs and mailing them to Martin. Her grassroots social media campaign has been dubbed #DontTouchTCM and Derby hopes it will inspire other fans to remind management of the important role the channel plays in the lives of film lovers.
“TCM often isn’t even mentioned in articles about Turner, or the layoffs,” she told me via email. “I know the channel is a small part of the company, but it plays a huge role in the lives of many people. I thought it was important to make sure the corporate executives understand that. And when I read about the job cuts I decided to tell them how I feel.”
But is it too late for fans to make an impact? Recent reports have indicated that the number of headcount reductions has already been determined, and the pink slips are one step away from printing. But like Jimmy Stewart’s crusading senator in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939), Mrs. Derby is not going down without a fight.
“Until the first TCM staffer loses their job it’s not too late,” she told me. “Fans need to speak up and spread the word. If we can save one job, this will all be worth it. And if we can’t, at least the people who are leaving will know how we feel about them.”
For more information on the #DontTouchTCM campaign visit The LA Rambler.