CBC to Cut 800 Jobs, Facing $171 Million Shortfall (Updated)
UPDATE | March 26, 2009: Richard Stursberg, the Executive Vice-President of CBC English Services, announced further details of the cuts to CBC television, radio, and online staff and programming on Thursday.
Stursberg acknowledged that the network is in a tremendously difficult financial crisis and is being forced to make severe cuts to its core programs and services.
“This is a really horrid situation.” Stursberg said. “It’s a very big cut… I don’t think we can underestimate the severity of what is happening.”
In CBC's news division, "a total of $7 million must be cut from the news division, including 80 jobs in radio news, current affairs and TV current affairs".
In addition, many well-known CBC radio programs will be cancelled including:
- The Point
- The Signal (weekend edition)
- In the Key of Charles
- The Inside Track
CBC Radio also plans to do fewer live music production and recordings and make "more consolidations" with the popular online, independent Canadian music network CBC Radio 3.
On the television side, fewer episodes of the following shows will be ordered and produced:
- The Border.
- This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
- Being Erica.
- Little Mosque on the Prairie.
Additionally, television programs that have been cancelled (or placed on hiatus) include:
- Fashion File
- Steven & Chris (on hiatus)
- Living (all regional editions)
Television programs The Fifth Estate and Marketplace, which had already been scaled back by the network, will face further budget reductions.
In sports, CBC will see reductions in coverage of skating, soccer, aquatics, athletics skiing, and Toronto Blue Jays baseball games.
CBC's French Services divisions will also faces cuts:
[O]n the French side are the elimination of noon hour news shows in Quebec City, Ottawa, Moncton and Sherbrooke and reduction of the supper hour newscasts in those markets to half an hour from an hour.
The programs Vous êtes Ici and Macadam tribus have also been cancelled.
Lacroix also announced Radio Canada International will eliminate its Ukrainian and Cantonese services.
PREVIOUSLY — March 25, 2009:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation President Hubert Lacroix addressed CBC staff Wednesday morning for of an internal "Town Hall Meeting" to address the troubled network's economic woes.
In a pre-recorded statement, Lacroix stated that CBC will be forced to cut 800 full-time employees to offset a $171 million budget shortfall.
The network also plans to sell $125 million in assets.
Here is the CBC's official news release on the cuts: CBC/Radio-Canada outlines 2009-2010 business plan; announces layoffs
“We need $171 million to balance our budget, which will mean 800 positions,” Lacroix said. The plan is to raise about $125 million through the sale of assets he said, and that the government will allow us to keep the proceeds of those sales. But even with those sales, balancing the books “still results in 800 positions,” Lacroix said.
The cuts will be made as follows:
The sale of assets depends on approval by the federal government. Lacroix did not say which assets would be sold.
The CBC is projecting 393 layoffs in its English services — including radio, TV and new media platforms — and 336 layoffs in French services. An additional 70 jobs will be lost at the corporate level.
Senior management will see a 20% reduction in take home pay — and corporate level cuts of 5% across the board.
Layoffs could begin as early as mid-May 2009 and continue until the beginning of September.
CBC managers will hold meetings Thursday to determine cuts to individual areas and departments.
CBC technology correspondent Tod Maffin also notes that there will be cuts to CBC Radio:
CBC Radio will be "cut substantially." No stations to close but programming will be cut. CBC seeking volunteers for pink-slipping.
20% of the cuts will be made to regional staff and programming while the rest will come "from the network", said Richard Stursberg, CBC's Vice-President of English Services.
Richard Stursberg, Vice-President of English Services, said “We’re going to have to cut as many as 400 people,” in English Services. He said he wants to maintain Radio One and Radio Two and grow their share without introducing advertising on radio. He also doesn’t want to lose the gains made in English Television or online.
But television will feel the cuts slightly more than radio, Stursberg said, however “the beef of the schedule remains largely intact.”
“About 20 per cent” of the cuts will fall on the regions he added. The rest will come from the network.
You can also follow reaction on Twitter via the #cbc hashtag.