1992 Move of Broadcast Operations

Here's a May 6, 1991, message to UPI staffers from Pieter VanBennekom concerning the move of broadcast operations from Chicago to Washington:


all Unipressers:

Today UPI took an important, very deliberate step to reaffirm our commitment to serving print and broadcast news media by relocating our broadcast newswire operation to Washington from Chicago.

As some of you are aware, members of the UPI Broadcast Advisory Board and other clients have for several years urged UPI to improve coordination among the broadcast wire, the other reports and UPI Radio Networks.

Though this step was long contemplated, only now, with our situation stabilized and prospects for new ownership brighter could we actually take this stride.

UPI is deeply grateful for the many contributions of UPI broadcast wire chief Susanne Fowler and other Chicago staffers who will be leaving UPI upon this change.

Today's announcement reflects recognition that subscribers consider the broadcast wire, the Radio Networks and other editorial reports highly complementary. The move gives these mutually dependent staffs the direct support they need to achieve the quality, editorial differentiation and overall performance that are crucial to UPI's future.

The key to this future performance lies with the new management team we have chosen to orchestrate the broadcast wire, UPI Radio Network and Radio Noticias in concert with core editorial, sports, business and international units.

Mike Aulabaugh, a 18-year Unipresser, now has this responsibility as vice president-broadcast services. Howard Dicus has been named to serve as Mike's news director in the Radio Network. Dicus has been a Radio Network anchor most of his seven years with us.

Howard, of course, succeeds David Oziel, who departs mid-May for Westwood One. David has been a linchpin during rough times and we wish him well.

Juan Gonzalez continues in his capacity as news director for UPI Radio Noticias, a post he assumed earlier this year.

This is a good point at which to stress that all of us need to function at our peaks from here on out. The post-sale period will not be Nirvana. New ownership means a lot of people intent on making a go of UPI. Each of us will have to pull harder and longer on our oars than we ever had to prior to November.

Note that the shift announced today leaves the overall number of UPI staff unchanged, because simultaneously we created a total of eight positions in Washington and New York City to offset directly the layoff of eight Chicago staffers who received notices today.

I can report to you that seven of the eight new East Coast positions have been filled. New and departing staffs will operate in tandem through May 13.

As the person responsible for growing our broadcast business, Mike will, ultimately, report to me. However, while I am immersed in the sales process, he will report to Al Rossiter.

Mike will have reporting to him a Broadcast News Desk chief yet to be chosen.

Among five staffers assigned today to the new Broadcast News Desk in Washington are three former Unipressers who've come back, and two moving from other Washington desks. Those desk positions also have been filled.

The national broadcast product will once again be a real team effort: Three new persons based in NX will produce sports and business material for the broadcast wire. Two of those NX staffers have already been hired, and an offer is out to the third.

Note that in Chicago broadcast features editor Penny Bartholomew continues to write for the broadcast wire; and, seven other Chicago employees were transferred within the bureau to Illinois state and other editorial positions.

Here's some background on Aulabaugh and Dicus:

Aulabaugh joined UPI in 1973 and has since served 13 years as a UPI broadcast journalist and six years as a regional and broadcast sales executive. Aulabaugh was UPI Radio Network Chicago bureau chief, 1982-1984; Dallas bureau chief, 1984-1986; Sports Director, 1973-1979; and, senior business editor and operations director, 1979-1982. Since 1986, he has served as director-group broadcast sales, vice president-radio sales and vice president-southern region media sales. He earned his B.S. degree in journalism at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, in 1973.

Dicus, 37, joined UPI in 1984, after serving variously as anchor, editor, reporter and remote engineer with Mutual News, AP Radio and several Maryland stations, including WYRE-AM and WNAV-AM, Annapolis; and WAVA-FM, Arlington, Va.

Earlier, Dicus was a reporter with several Maryland weekly newspapers. He attended Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.

Believe me, as I head into a series of pivotal meetings, I have the feeling that the whole world is watching. Fortunately, many of us feel a new energy pervades UPI, and I enter these meetings knowing that energy is being focused on what UPI does best - report the news.

 Pieter VanBennekom
 Chief Executive Officer

Washington May 6, 1991