Two WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta reporters take buyouts

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Two prominent reporters at Fox-owned WAGA in Atlanta, Georgia, have accepted buyouts to leave the station amid cost-cutting measures.

Randy Travis, an investigative reporter, and Beth Galvin, a health reporter, both have left the station.

They take a combined 62 years of experience out the door.

Travis’ tenure at the station dates back to when it was still a CBS affiliate, having joined in 1990, while Galvin signed on in 1996.

“What a privilege it has been to get to tell your medical stories for the last 24 years,” Galvin, 58, wrote in a post on her Facebook page. “What I saw and soaked in every day was the incredible courage and grace of people facing challenges they did not choose. I am so proud of the stories we covered, and I hope you found them helpful and inspired as I was by the people who shared their stories. What a beautiful amazing ride it has been.”

Travis, 62, officially labeled his departure as retirement in a post on his personal Facebook account that was later published with permission by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work at the station earned a Peabody Award.

Galvin, meanwhile, was the only reporter in the market to focus exclusively on the health beat.

Behind the scenes, editor Randall Rinehart, 49, also took a buyout. 

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Buyouts, which typically offer the promise of continuing to be paid for a set period of time, often a year, plus at least some continuation of benefits, have become an all-too-common way for TV stations to cut costs.

They are often offered to high-paid veterans who have reached a point on the pay scale where cutting them from payroll in the long term makes more financial sense than being able to know they only need to be paid for another year or so.

Buyouts are often offered prior to instituting other cost-saving measures such as layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts, in the hopes that the station can realize enough savings to avoid or reduce other reductions down the road.

For staffers, the packages may offer a way to gracefully exit the station. Some reporters opt to use the buyout to transition to retirement, even if it is a bit earlier than they might normally do so. Others, however, will exit the station and then pursue another position in TV news or launch a second career down the road, though buyouts often prohibit those accepting them from working, particularly for a rival station, for a set period after departing.

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