Plum TV shutters Martha’s Vineyard station operation

The Plum TV studio, now closed, is located in the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven.
Photo by Nelson Sigelman

The Plum TV studio, now closed, is located in the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven.

Plum TV Martha’s Vineyard began broadcast operations in summer 2004, with ambitious plans to highlight the Island lifestyle. It was one of a chain of private stations Tom Scott, a cofounder of Nantucket Nectars, established to target upscale resort communities. On Tuesday, the Vineyard station was abruptly closed.

In a conference call Tuesday morning, Plum employees in eight resort communities learned that the company, which includes television stations and glossy magazines, would significantly reduce staff and restructure in an attempt to stem losses.

It was disappointing news for Vineyard station manager Tina Miller and her three full-time, year-round employees, now out of a job.

“This affects a lot of people. It is disappointing for everybody,” she said. “This is something that if you were involved in, especially as long as I was, you cared a lot about it. It was a fun company to work in, and all of us believed in the model.”

Ms. Miller said the employees have received no information regarding the future or any severance package.

“I don’t know the plan exactly or anything like that,” Ms. Miller said. “Nobody’s been told anything. I was just told that this market was closing down and there is a major restructuring.”

Ms. Miller said the economy and the complexity of operating a company with eight distinct markets likely led to the present difficulties.

Beyond Martha’s Vineyard, Plum broadcasts from stations in Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Sun Valley, The Hamptons, Miami Beach, and Nantucket. The company also announced plans to suspend publication of its September issue of Plum Miami Magazine.

Robbie Vorhaus, a New York public relations specialist and Plum spokesman, said the decision to restructure followed a series of meetings last week and the resignation of Plum chairman Jerry Powers. “The board, in reviewing the numbers, realized that in order to save the Plum brand they had to make some pretty dramatic changes, and they announced a restructuring which resulted in some pretty significant staff reductions,” he said.

The Plum brand relied heavily on celebrity features and profiles of the resort lifestyle.

For now Plum TV Martha’s Vineyard, aired on the cable system, will continue to broadcast a mix of previously recorded material and programming generated by other outlets, Mr. Vorhaus said.