Arbitron to lay off 10% of work force

The Baltimore Sun

The media research firm Arbitron Inc. said Tuesday that it is slashing 10 percent of its work force and cutting other expenses as new management refocuses the business and tries to deal with the weak economy.

Under the plan, 110 full-time positions, including 80 in the Baltimore area, would be eliminated, company spokesman Thom Mocarsky said in phone interview.

About 71 percent, or 767, of the company's 1,084 full-time employees work in Columbia, where the company moved its headquarters this month. About 56 percent, or 269, of the company's 484 part-time workers work at the 275,000-square-foot campus.

The reductions are expected to save the company more than $10 million in 2010, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company will incur pre-tax expenses of $8 million to $9 million in the first quarter of this year, primarily related to severance and benefits expenses related to the layoffs. The reductions will be implemented by the end of the first quarter.

Michael Skarzynski took the helm of Arbitron in January and has been making changes at the company, including moving the headquarters to Columbia where most of the company's research is done.

Skarzynski said in the SEC filing that the company is realigning and restructuring to focus on "strengthening our radio measurement service and developing new, multimedia services."

"It's the economy," Mocarsky said. "It's the changing marketplace. It's the need to re-evaluate and refocus the company."

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