Channel One President Made Over $1.7 Million In Compensation

November 17, 2005
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We just found the above information on Forbes.com. This is incredible. It is an indication of the massive amounts of money Channel One News siphons off from public schools.

Although he had a few other responsibilities, Jim Ritts’ main job was president of Channel One News. This report was for fiscal year 2004. A year that was not good for Channel One. How could they pay this guy $560,769 as an annual salary as staff reductions and salary freezes were in place? As Channel One cut down from 8 news anchors to 5?

How could they justify paying Ritts a bonus that was over $1 million when the company was sinking deeper into the dumpster? How can you pay the top man a total of $1.7 million and then fire him (or whatever they want to call it) a few months after that year ended?

You can pay the top people these outrageous sums because Channel One, even with its shrinking numbers, is still raking in tons of money from schools.

Wait? You are saying, “Schools don’t pay anything for Channel One’s service. So how can Channel One be sucking money from them?”

Time is money. Every second of school time has financial value. Schools would be much better off if they bought their own TV network than to agree to sacrifice one hour a week of school time FOREVER to Channel One’s TV show.

The Education Policy Studies Laboratory at Arizona State University reported that the annual cost of showing Channel One was $1.8 billion a year and that was in 1998. The average loss of money for each secondary school was $26,000 and that is just considering the loss due to the commercials. The rental value of Channel One’s equipment on average was about $4,000 a year per school. (Channel One never gives a school any equipment. It is on loan to the school as long as students watch the commercial program 90% of all school days.)

Obligation does not know the salary of the current Channel One president Judy Harris. She took over after Ritts was dismissed. We can easily imagine that she is being paid at least as much as Ritts, if not more. She has a much tougher job than Ritts had although she is only over Channel One. She inherited one messed up company.

Ritts never replaced Dr. Paul Folkemer, the New Jersey middle school principal hired in 1998 to be VP of Education. Folkemer went around the country preaching “teach the news! teach the news!” He failed and called it quits at Channel One in 2002 and became an assistant principal at a school known for its academic excellence and, of course, that meant it did not have Channel One News. Although Ritts saved some money by not hiring another education person (hey, more money for Ritts), it sent yet another negative message to classroom teachers.

There is no president of programming listed on Channel One’s web site which may mean they have not replaced Morgan Wandell since he left. Jim Morris, the long-time producer of Channel One News, is no longer listed in that position so it is uncertain if he is still there.

As Harris was walking in to her new job, advertisers were streaming out the revolving door at Channel One’s Broadway office. Now government advertisers are bolting. You would have to pay someone good money to take the the position of Channel One president.

One could argue that Judy Harris should be drawing a $2 million salary and get a huge bonus if the company is still afloat next year. But since most of her salary, like all the employees of Channel One, comes from schoolchildren sacrificing their educational time to watch Hubba Bubba bubble gum commercials or a guest news anchor plugging their latest gay/lesbian- transvestite-heroin movie, she doesn’t deserve a dime.

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