Home Miami TV WTVJ Layoffs Is it the Economy or a Buyer?

WTVJ Layoffs Is it the Economy or a Buyer?

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When I read of the WTVJ layoffs a few theories popped up in my head while trying to figure out why they keep laying people off. Nothing based on tips or anything, just guessing on what could be going on.

1. A buyer for WTVJ has emerged, interested in the station:

a)  Buyer looking to run things on the lean. Assuming NBC isn’t flexible on the asking price this potential buyer is probably willing to give NBC the asking price but only in exchange for less burden i.e. high-paid on-air talent, too much staff.

b) the buyer is a  media company who sees the need to invest in WTVJ in order to make them a viable competitor but to do this, and give NBC the asking price, WTVJ has to ‘shed some weight’ if you will.

2. NBC is moving both WSCV and WTVJ to Hialeah where Telemundo network has studios. Everything gets run out of one place since WTVJ doesn’t hub for NBC-owned stations any longer. The current WTVJ building will be either:

a) Sold to a TV station. Most likely to buy being Sunbeam/WSVN and move in, settle with the condo builder who bought WIOD’s property to start construction. They keep what’s left of the original newsplex for a Miami bureau and offices for Ed Ansin’s real estate company
b) NBC will ditch the WTVJ studios and sell it to raise as much money as they can. Possibly turning the studios into a warehouse or office building.

c) minimize the cost of running the facility once it’s empty of equipment. Eventually sell it or rent as a warehouse or turn it into an office building

3. It really is the economy and NBC needs to fatten up profits for the 3rd quarter

I think 1, 2 and 3 are most likely. 2a and 2b not so much.

2a is very unlikely because Sunbeam will have to scrounge up cash.  The real estate market is terrible, they have already blown their  DTV budget because of signal issues with WHDH in Boston and WSVN in Miami. Sunbeam has to pay a crew to climb the transmitter and put a new antenna. And of course WSVN’s Nielsen ratings are screwed up since the market went with people meters making their advertising rates plunge

2b is a possibility but again with the real estate market being what it is in Florida and around the country not.

What do you think? Economy or is finally there a new suitor to take ‘ol lady 6 and maybe give her some much needed love?

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86 COMMENTS

  1. GE/NBC monitors its headcount on a monthly basis. I believe these layoffs are due to the weak financial performance of WTVJ and NBC due to the economy and poor management decision-making. This happens all the time in GE businesses.

    They wouldn’t initiate these layoffs for a specific buyer because the deal could fall through like the Post-Newsweek deal did or not get FCC approval.

    I don’t think they would relocate the stations to Hialeah unless they’ve decided to keep WTJV. It would make it harder to sell it later if it’s physically located on the Telemundo property. And it would be tough to sell such a special purpose building in the current economy unless they had someone like SVN interested.

    I am speculating that they are going to cut costs to the bone until the economy picks up and then maybe try to sell it later if they can’t turn it around.

  2. Alex, all that you said is true, but a buyer would also like to see good ratings, not just a shell of a station unless they plan on giving it away.

  3. BTW……I got an email from Kelly Craig. She sounds fine, no bitter feelings, with the understanding its an economic move and was happy she had so many good years at WTVJ. I think her husband does very well, and the money shouldn’t effect their lifestyle. I don’t expect to see her on TV again. Maybe……radio ?

  4. Not to get off topic, but since Kelly Craig was mentioned, I’d like to point out that this is the second time the station screwed her. I remember when they pulled her off the main anchor slot in favor of Michelle Gillen in 1993. This after the work she did with Segreto and Norcross covering Andrew all night. Gillen lasted only about a year or so before they brought in Jennifer Valoppi in 94.

  5. The station screwed alot of people……Tony Segreto, Susan Lichtman, Jen Valoppi,Joel Connable, Illeano Bravo ( she was kicked out when NBC sent down and demoted Diana Gonzelas),Kelly Craig, should I go on ? Kelly was screwed 3 times if you count them only giving her a part time contract with no benifits. Welcome to the world of TV-Radio !

  6. If its the economy… WTVJ isn’t alone. By observing other TV markets, Gannett and Newport recently ordered mandatory furloughs of all their employees, in an effort to keep from having to cut more jobs. I don’t know if its worked or not… or if other struggling TV station companies, like NBC-Universal, Tribune, and Media General have considered wanting to issue furloughs.

    NBC was able to acquire The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications, in favor of shuttering Weather Plus… Ladmark wasn’t able to find interested buyers for its CBS stations WTVF (Nahsville) and KLAS (Las Vegas). Rumors had also circulated about NBC expressing interest in acquring KRON (San Francisco) from Young Broadcasting… a station that used to be 1 of its strongest performing affiliates. NBC wasn’t able to find an interested buyer for WVIT (Hartford-New Haven)… the Post-Newsweek deal with WTVJ fell apart 2 days before Christmas.

    If its an interested buyer… I’d rather it be a company like Cox Enterprises or Belo Corporation that could work to turn WTVJ around for the better. I assume there could be other interested buyers out there. I also assume new ownership would have to wait until the economy can rebound.

  7. Susan Lichtman was screwed over when they took demoted her off as the evening anchor. If memory serves me right, she was put on in the early morning. Thats being screwed over. Of course she wanted to leave after she was demoted. BTW at the same time there was a poll of the most popular evening anchor. Even though Susan was even on the list, she won before of all the write in votes she got! A real screw job by WTVJ !

    • They did do that, but what has NBC done for her since, they were the ones that offered her the opportunity that she has been so successful at now at KNSD.

    • I remember that poll. I believe it was in the Sun-Sentinel and they also did polls of favorite weathercasters and sportscasters, too. I think Segreto was No. 1 for sports. Not sure for weather. Maybe Don Noe or Bob Soper.

  8. This was in the Barry Jackson TV/Radio column in today’s Miami Herald….

    • NBC 6 has put its popular Sunday night sports show on indefinite hiatus because of staffing issues resulting from this week’s layoffs of executive sports producer Jeff Tavss and part-time No. 3 sportscaster Andrea Brody. Ardyth Diercks, NBC 6’s general manager, said it’s too soon to know when or if the program will return.

    NBC 6 will keep two on-air sportscasters: Joe Rose and Adam Kuperstein.

    With Channel 10 dropping its Sunday night program earlier this year, that leaves only Channel 7 (11 p.m.) and Channel 4 (11:35 p.m.) with 30-minute Sunday night shows.

    http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/columnists/barry-jackson/story/1125487.html

  9. So the lesson is that once WTVJ had two excellent evening anchors and what do they have now? If you live and die by numbers…Kelly and Susan were both just tremendous talents, that was a time when the ratings matched the level of ability. I suspect the same is true now, at the other end of the spectrum.

    • Well WTVJs ratings went down in the late 1980s a little while Ralph Renick had left (when Lichtman was there). And since Kelly had been there, the ratings had never been too good, atleast not for long. I’m not at all implying this was her fault, but it certainly disproves your theory.

  10. Damn….I like Chuck’s comments…always did. WTVJ could have had Susan or Jennifer instead of Jackie. What a difference that would have made, mostly in the ratings! Susan or Jennifer weren’t Latin, Jackie is !!! Latin & Black are the key words at WTVJ. I believe you put the best person on, WTVJ doesn’t. If you think I’m a racist, I’m a huge fan of Julia , but can’t stand Tisha Lewis . Enough said.

  11. Bless you Mitch. I concur. I don’t care about race, religion, etc. I would love some competent journalism, and would settle for decent perfunctory newsreading. I used to compare Sally Fitz to a pro tennis player. The better your competition, the better you play, right? Well, no matter who they sat with Sally, they tanked. Peter Ford, Steve Rondinaro, etc. were all pretty good guys who tanked with Sally. Conversely, anyone who anchored with Kelly got better. The interplay betwenn anchors was nore fluid and didn’t sound forced. Who was Sally’s best partner? Rick Sanchez, because he stunk as much as she did. Give me Kelly Craig and anyone and you’re on your way to a superior news product.

    • Where do you get all this magical info about Kelly bringing in strong ratings. By the time Sally left WSVN 1993, her ratings were better than WTVJs. I think that had more to do with the format and in the early 1980s Ralph Renick’s dominance.

      Just because you enjoyed watching someone doesen’t mean everyone else did. As the 90s went on WTVJs ratings declined while WSVNs increased, so none of what you have said makes any sense.

  12. Chuck…..I never thought of it that way, but damn…your right, again…..Rick and Sally , a match made in heaven…..Rick with his sleeves rolled up and Sally almost falling over the front of her desk because of how excited she got or…was that dildo really ever removed?

      • GB, try watching a newscast without a Nielsen book in your hand…do you have a clue of what the difference is between competent journalism and a meatball parade? I wipe my …with the ratings. Funny thing is, eventually ratings follow the quality newscast. It takes time, which is a commodity these idiots are even less willing to invest than money.

        • Hey, I am just trying to look at this from a business standpoint. Yes unfortunatly some great journalists are clearly underestimated by receiving bad ratings, but that is how the business works! Like I say it is in NBC’s best interest to find a way to be profitable, and status quo wasent doing it. Many of the people here seem to be a niche group of fans that like wtvj, but evryone must understand things cannot stay the same forever.

  13. I heard it from the horse’s mouth, she will go out on the street to report on day to day stories as early as Monday.

  14. Once again it goes back to my statement…….If your black or Latin at WTVJ , you go on the air no matter what your talent level is

  15. Here’s a question: Can NBC6 cover the news effectively. I would say no. They have no helicopter, no news director. The fill-in news director has no training in running a newsroom. She was a secretary in a previous life. They barely have any GA reporters. I think all that are left are: Steve Litz, Claudia DeCampo, Sharon Lawson, Ari Odzer, Jeff Burnside and Willard Shepared. That is not a full staff to cover hurricane season or cover the big stories of the day. They have laid off photographers. They only have two working live trucks and they just got rid of weekend morning news. I would say that NBC6 is in no position to claim they cover “South Florida’s story.” How can they?

  16. Reply…your wrong …WTVJ just added to their news staff to cover South Florida….a 72 Pinto and 2 Mopeds !!!! They “have you covered”!

        • It’s about media, which is about communicating, which is why spelling and grammar matter. If you know anything about grammar, you would kmow that 7 is infamous for excessive active tense and obsessive alliteration in its writing. Perhaps you are right–grammar doesn’t matter in a blog, which is not for pay; however, if this is your career, you had better damned well know how to communicate in a professional manner. This is the core of why so many of the people we vilify every day on this site are criticized–if you look deeper, you will see that the worst reporters cannot piece together a simple coherent sentence. Thanks Tisha, just ketchup and some napkins please.

  17. Maybe it was a long time ago, but I didn’t think too much of K. Craig in the early 90’s. Could the talent pool be so bad that she actually looks better by comparison? Or maybe she improved with time. Either way, TVJ is a shadow of its former self, so I guess the issue is moot.

  18. GBMiami….You say,Hialeah is a better place then Miramar off of I75? You must have hemroids, cause you sure sound like a “stand up comic”

    • It was a joke. BUT, Hialeah is a much more urbanized area, better for business, and is closer to Miami which I think is important. Miami is where the News happens (and what the rest of the country cares about), Miramar is much to far from any eventful place in SoFla.

      I think the suburbs in SoFla are awful, houses look the same, gated communities, people that live there life a rat race going back a forth, Broward i notorious for that lifestyle. Miramar is a terrible place for a television station….or any business.

  19. Hialeah speaks one language “Spanish”. It might be great for Telemundo, bit not for an English language station. Who cares what the houses look like, good or bad, although Dan Marino and most of the current members of the Miami Dolphins ( along with the Dolphins themselves) Miramar is a central location for a TV station, that why ch 10 moved up to Hallandale too. So news doesn’t happen in Broward? Really……………..

  20. I think there’s another reason 6 and 10 moved to Broward–the realization that the Anglo demographic shifted north, so the English-speaking stations shifted much of their focus that way. Broward gets far more coverage on 4 6 7 and 10 than you will ever see on the Spanish statins. Conversely, for example, the Elian story was virtually a non-story once you crossed the county line. Perhaps the reason 23 and 51 are racking up numbers is because they do a better job of servicing their core audience, while the English-speaking stations try to be all things to all people–and fail miserably at it. Perhaps this is also why 7’s numbers took a dive when Nielsen went to people meters. Of course, I’ve always said that if you’re illiterate in 2 languages, 7 is for you.

  21. BTW…….A gated community ? Well….there is only one within a few miles where I lie that I know of. Every friend I have up here, I drive right up their driveways with no gates or anything blocking me. Don’t a good portion of the homes in Dade have “bars” on their windows? Isn’t that to keep others out?

    • I don’t live in a house with bars…I live in a condo in the skyyyy. But there is so much close to me, i dont have to drive a thousand miles to get there. And this was just my opinion, I prefer urban areas. Within a year I project I will have moved to Miami from here in West Palm Beach…something I have longed to do.

      I just remember when I would have to drive to NBC 6 that I would enter Broward and think wow i’m almost there, but silly me it was another hours worth of driving, and after 5:30pm forget about it. And, when i am in Miami i try to make use of things like MetroRail and such, I think they are great services that we need to utilize more if we have the ability to. Once NBC 6 moved to Hialeah they will once again be accessible by better public transit like they were before they moved.

      If you ask me their old location was prime!!! Damn you couldn’t ask for a better location than downtown in a metro area! That’s why i think Admins claim of WSVN moving to NBC 6 studios is outrageous. WSVN has probably one of the most unique locations of a television station anywhere in the world…Something I don’t think Ed Ansin would give up. When I met him he seemed very happy with their location and status quo.

  22. I got to give Chuck “four gold stars” for the comments he made at 10:29 am…….Bulls eye…..You hit it with those comments!

  23. I agree with gbmiami87 about NBC 6 in downtown miami. In my opinion, they should have stayed there and had the same facility in miramar in downtown miami. While they were building they should have moved to a temporary location. But Don Browne and NBC wanted to move so that it won’t cause too much money. Back in 2000, Don said,”it’s cheaper to build a new building, than to renovate one.” But they should have stayed in downtown miami, does anyone remember the blue build with the NBC/ NBC6 design? That was nice painting, wish they would have done something like that at there miramar studios…

    • thanks! I’m glad someone has some sense. I remember having went in that old WometCo theater they were in once just before they moved, it was jam packed. NBC thought it best to make a one time gain by selling that really prime valuable real estate. I think it would have been better to come up with a suitable business model that would have allowed NBC to become really successful in one of the most important urban centers in American, and to some extent this entire part of the world.

      Also like i said, NBC made millions on that land in downtown, and the land in Miramar was given to them for free. So they were thinking with their wallets rather than the long term costs. it’s hard to associate NBC Miami when they arent there.

      Now that the WometCo theater is gone that ship has sailed, however I think being in Hialeah will be better for their business since they would be a lot more accessible to Miami-DAde (and still Broward).

      Do you all have any idea what celebs (such as COnan a few months ago) and such think when they plan on going to the NBC 6 studios and find out its like a million miles from Miami?

      • If you think Telemundo is accessible, drive down the Palmetto, get off at 74th Street and head east. Getting in and out of Hialeah is no treat. NBC did get the land for free in Miramar, but the plus side of it is that governments clear interstates and expressways first after storms. That Miramar location is not as remote as you’ve made it sound. Contrast that to the old Wometco location on Miami Avenue–well, if it isn’t a hurricane flooding the neighborhood, how about a good old fashioned “domestic disturbance” like the McDuffie uprising, the Overtown uprising, etc.? Having said that, there are too many beuatiful places to put studios down here. 7 still has one in North Bay Village; WTVJ used to do their Broward news from the Yankee Clipper on Lauderdale Beach. Instead of a street-level studio at AAA, why didn’t 6 get something in 1 Biscayne Tower overlooking the bay? Or any of a dozen places I can think of. I am tired of green screen magic, frankly. So how come so many of us on this site seem more capable of fixing WTVJ than the knuckleheads in place there now? Jeff Zucker was at Wimbledon this morning, so I guess he isn’t terribly worried about the economy, the mass exodus of viewers, the deterioration of NBC’s capital property values, etc. He went to my high school, and frankly, I am ashamed.

        • Well at least you are partially seeing my point. Miami is a great place and you are right, there are plenty of great things they could do in Miami as far as a studio is concerned.

          You know, Overtown has had a history of being a place with domestic disturbances….which i recall is called NEWS!!! Which station would be first on the scene? The one just around the corner! But I have to say while Overtown has crime that you see all over SoFla, I haven’t heard of a major incident at all in a long time. I am around there often and it appears fine to me.

          A station that wants to be a leader in local news needs to be around where the most important news will take place, and that is not Miramar. Also, being a network owned station, they need to have some good roots to be able to provide the international scene a local view, when necessary.

          As for transit to Hialeah, Miami has this interesting thing called MetroRail. Many large urban areas like Miami have begun to make good use of public transit. If you are just too darn good to touch public transit and want to drive your big SUV all over, than I just feel sorry for you, you are just part of the problem. I would think GE would encourage this since they want to be green.

  24. What Major TV station is located “down in Miami” ? Not one single station! WPLG who was close to downtown saw the writing on the wall and moved to Broward too….Case closed!

    • I said anywhere Miami-Dade is a great place for a TV station, downtown is a PRIME place for one that was already there. I also said that WPLG is not in a bad place, they have good access to everything from where they are. I said Miramar was a bad place being far from everything.

      Downtown is expensive. WSVN and WPLG I think both have ideal locations. WFORs isnt BAD, and I dont think WTVJs would be either if they moved to Hialeah. You have to remember, its good to be close to airports and other outlets for guests and such that travel to come to the station for whatever reason.

  25. WTVJ is right off I75. Minutes from everywhere, both Dade & Broward. Since when is downtown Miami close to the airport? You have to drive clear accross town on the worst expressway in the county to get there. I guess WSVN can’t be to happy with their location either. When Post-Newsweek was gonna buy WTVJ, Ansin inquired about buying the WTVJ building in Miramar, or didn’t you know that?

    • Yeah, I did know that, but not for WSVN. He was going to use it for another project.

      Ok Miami hater or Suburban Ft Lauderdalian. My life is too precious to argue with you about this anymore. A downtown city location is a great place in any city for any TV station or business. If that isnt true, why is it that most TV stations in big cities are in downtown areas?

      I think I-75 is one of the worst expressways in the area. Yeah you can access Miramar from the south by that, but not as easily from the north. And again, I have done that drive before, unless you are driving to WTVJ at 4am, it’s not minutes from Miami or Fort Lauderdale.

      Again….I mention to you suburbanears, in urban areas there are things like MetroRail 😛 Which i hear is now being linked to the airport. Maybe you would have seen it on NBC 6 when they talked about it.

      Now, I conclude this by saying, NBC 6 will move to Hialeah, it’s a done deal, its going to happen, whether you like it or not.

  26. NBC6 moved to Miramar because they received a huge tax break from the city. It cost them almost nothing to build there. They didn’t go there because of viewers or any educated decision like that.

  27. GBMiami….. I’m not a Miami hater. You were the one putting down Broward, saying there is no news here and everyone lives in a gated community which couldn’t be any further from the truth! There was a reason that Post-Newsweek moved to Broward, its more centrally located to all of South Florida. And the reason you don’t have bars on your windows is living in a high rise (good way to avoid all the crimes down there too) The only way they could get through your windows is being dropped down by a Helicopter….Even most of the radio stations are moving to either extreme North Dade or Broward. Its a sign of the times!

    • Well I would be crazy to live in a house wouldnt i? Since when is it a crime to live in a high rise? But my great aunt and great uncle lived in Pembroke Pines for years, their house had been broken into numerous times and Pembroke Pines is suppose to be a nice quiet suburb. They even call themselves a “deed restricted community.”

      I was NOT talking about Broward county tho. I was talking about the Suburbs of South Florida meaning anything ranging from Royal Palm Beach in Palm Beach County all the way down to like the Miramar/Pembroke Pines area. It’s all the same, houses look the same (which i noticed you didnt deny), many area gated, they all have big fricken ridiculous fountains out front that use enough water to dry up Lake Okeechobee. And, what’s more, everyone that lives out in these suburbs has to drive a million miles into the urban areas in the east to work. Like I said, it’s a rat race for people who live out there and remember, even if you win a rat race, you’re still a rat!

      BTW one of my favorite movies, Flight of the Navigator was filmed mostly in broward, so i love it! I have not problem with eastern Broward county.

  28. and which is why I said I think WSVN is the least likely to move 🙂
    yes Ansin loves the location of WSVN, unfortunately we don’t know the outcome and status of the condos that want to go up next door to WSVN yet

    I’m just playing devil’s advocate 🙂

    • Well North Bay Village has always been the island of various broadcasts. I would think those that live there would be proud of that. But they will never get Ansin to leave.

  29. Oh now your saying it about Palm Beach County, not Broward…lol….You should go into politics. Well, I have friends in Palm Beach too and not one who lives in a gated community. So you would be crazy to live in a house in Dade? Well, we finally aggree. With most homes having bars on their windows, I wouldnt want to live there either. I enjoy my private home with a 2 car garage. I step out in my garage, go less then 10 feet and I’m in my house. Never have to deal with going up 10-30 floors before I get home and having to deal with condos associations and their high fees. I Walk outside and I have a large “private” covered screened area which I don’t have to share with anyone. That also goes for my personal sauna and hot tub. Then. I have a large backyard (wood fenced for privacy, not security) where I can grow all my fruit trees and anything else I want without someone telling me I can’t. I never have to drive more then a few miles to go anywhere ( my gym is 5 miles away). Publix is less then a mile from my house. Yup, living in a private home is sure terrible and I’m not near anything…lol

  30. Btw….I’m also just a few miles from the Sawgrass Expressway and about 10 minutes from the Sawgrass Mall……Yup, no shopping anywhere near me……

  31. Alex….To me then, it would have made perfect sense to move ch 7 up to where the rest of his business holdings are and a more central location too. That area where Ch 7 is “was’ a very nice area 30 years ago , but has really gone down hill. Treasure Island was a very exclusive area. Back in the 70s when I knew “Dion”( I worked in the entertainment business back then ) , he lived there himself before moving to Boca ( sorry GBMiami). Maybe, Dion lives in a gated community GBMiami. You might want to investigate that…lol

    • Well i think its nice to venture out of your own area. Palm Beach and Broward are like mirrors of each other, both have developed with similar people in similar ways.

      I never said living in a house was a bad thing (you keep putting words in my mouth! 😛 ).

      North Bay Village is a nice area, and I have looked at condos to live there. I told you, I have met Ansin and talked to him, and I don’t think he has any intention of moving WSVN to Miramar. What he does there is a separate entity altogether.

      Dion must live closer to my neck of the woods than, as I said, I currently live in West Palm Beach. Within a year once I finish up my degree i intend on moving to Miami.

      Sure there are bad areas in Miami, every big city has them. But crime happens everywhere, like i mentioned my great aunt and uncle in Pembroke Pines being robbed above.

      All that stuff you have at your house I have as well, albeit not a private sauna and stuff, but on a Monday at 1pm it seems like it since I am often the only one there. I do have a private porch where i just watched the fireworks. As for condo fees, depends on where you are.

      And this is my opinion, but I think SAwgrass area is the worse place on Earth, I hate that mall with a passion and probably havent been there since i went to the Rain Forest cafe with my 3rd grade class 14 years ago.

      But Mitch, I am glad you’re happy, SoFla is one of the most depressing places as the media calls us. It’s good to see that there are people who live here and are proud of it whether they are in the suburbs or urban areas along the coast.

  32. I was just watching WTVJ 6pm news. The anchor was doing sports! They have no sports person. Plus, I hear WTVJ will no longer have Sports Final on Sunday Night. Makes it easier for me. At 11 pm I’ll watch Steve & Drew on ch 7 ( about the only good thing they have) and at 11:30 I won’t have try to decide “Joe or Kim”. As Bob Dylan once said “the times are a changing”.

        • John Gerard’s bio no longer lists him as the weekend evening weather guesser. Could he be the next name on the ‘white flight’ list?
          The standard budget for weather these days gets you just two meteorolgists and two tits.

          • I found it interesting that there is many women meteorologists in Miami, however in West Palm Beach there are virtually none aside from Felicia Rodrieguez on WPBF TV 25. And i don’t even think she is a real meteorologist, she is just an anchor assigned to weather.

    • He’s been dropped from the list of bios for the news team. Maybe someone knows what he’s doing now and what his plans are. He has an interesting background, with experience in both broadcasting and finance. I read that he was looking for another sportscasting job, but that was a couple of months ago.

  33. Alot of good available talent out there, much just like there is in other areas of business ( retail, wholesale,construction, sales reps, mgmt). A real shame !

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