By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
We'd like to feel his pain
Whatta guy! Southwest Airlines chairman Herb Kelleher has frozen his own pay through 1999 as a sign of solidarity with Southwest's pilots. The pilot's union agreed to a pay freeze in exchange for some stock options.
Buzz bets the pilots feel real close to ol' Herb, now--as we all do. Dallas' answer to Lech Walesa will hold himself to a measly $395,000 in salary and a $172,000 bonus until the last year in his five-year contract. At that time, he'll be eligible for his guaranteed 14-percent raise.
How 'bout a beer after work, Herb? It's on us.
Is this downsizing?
You may have read that The Dallas Morning News has seen a 4-percent drop in daily circulation--down to 528,000. And the 804,000-circulation Sunday edition has dropped 2 percent from last year.
Bad news for Belo? In Buzz's dreams. "We're pleased" by the numbers, Jeremy L. Halbreich, News president and general manager, told his astonishingly credulous business section. "We're better off than we thought might be the case six months ago."
In other areas of downward spiraling, Buzz learned from Belo's annual report that corporation top dogs--while seeing their base salaries increase--have had to live with markedly decreased bonuses. Belo board chair, president, and CEO Robert W. Decherd pulled in total annual compensation of $705,994 in fiscal 1995. That's down significantly from 1994, when he earned a whopping $956,475. Most of the difference was due to his 1994 bonus of $400,275 being cut to a measly $146,294 in 1995.
Publisher and editor of the News Burl Osborne suffered a similar indignity--watching his annual income actually drop from last year's $679,930 to $520,489, again due to a sharp reduction of his bonus--down from $255,946 to a paltry $93,489.
Of course, Decherd and Osborne both have plenty of Belo stock in the vault to help them muddle through these trying times. Decherd's 8 percent of the company--he owns a little more than three million shares of Belo stock--is worth a billion dollars and change. Osborne's paltry 135,000 company shares, by comparison, is worth almost $5 million.
We're blown away
Though the violent-crime rate is down, paranoia is still way up. And, bless 'em, folks are out to make a buck on it.
The most intriguing idea to cross the Buzz desk recently is "in-home emergency shelters." You're probably thinking, "But Buzz, I can't afford an underground bomb shelter."
The 40-inch-wide-by-26-deep-by-41-inch-high Safe-N-Side shelter--not to be confused with a coffin--is made of 1/2-inch steel plate that laughs off tornadic-wind-propelled 2"x4" boards at 100 mph. If twisters aren't at the epicenter of your anxiety closet, the Safe-N-Side also can stop a marauder's 9mm or .44 magnum slug. You'll be relaxing snug inside with the deadbolt locked--calling law enforcement on the emergency phone (installation not included) and breathing air courtesy of hidden vent holes.
It's a steal at $1,678.