Financial woes have forced the management of Gayelle The Channel to downsize...again. The company's board of directors is meeting to discuss the future of the locally-owned television station as it continues to grapple with growing financial problems. The station, popularly known as Gayelle, celebrated its seventh anniversary on February 16. However, because of a lack of what's being described as "sustainable advertising," Gayelle was forced to send home its entire news team last month. Gayelle founder Errol Fabian said while the company had not gone off air, he was left with little choice but to "downsize" its staff.
"We have had to consolidate recently because advertising revenue is not coming as it used to...We had to make that decision in the best interest of the company," he said. This is not the first time that the cash-strapped television entity has had to send employees home. Last year, the company dissolved its newsroom and had teamed up with Cable News Channel 3 (CNC3) to present its viewers with a 7 pm nightly newscast. "We just couldn't sustain it so now we have gone back to showing the news from CNC3," Fabian said. He said rumours that the station was closing were untrue. He did confirm, however, that the station was owing outstanding rent and now had to "look at its future."
He added: "We are owing plenty people, but I am taking care of it. That's how business is...The revenue is flowing but not like before." Fabian said the station was now operating with a team of "20-something" employees and while local advertisers did not seem to "buy in" to its philosophy, he remained somewhat optimistic about the company's future. "We have taken certain decisions that haven't found favour from advertisers," he said. "We don't carry foreign content and it's a fact that advertisers and viewers prefer foreign content. We do not advertise alcohol on our station...Our quality cannot be Hollywood quality.
"For that we need money and money we do not have." Fabian said despite the lack of interest by corporate T&T, Gayelle was responsible for training some of the nation's top media practitioners, including journalists, cameramen and engineers. He said: We remain in the game. We continue to exist. Thanks to all our viewers and sponsers...Long live Gayelle." One-time talk show host, Dennis Tayé Allen, face of SporTlighT-a show which briefly replaced Anil Robert's popular programme Spalk-said once Gayelle could not replace Spalk, "their goose was cook." He added: "The station needs hits, and right now they don't have any." Allen said he and his team were yet to be compensated for their work after hosting the final four episodes of Spalk, in July 2010.