CBC English Services announces program, service changes
March 26, 2009 — CBC English Services today announced changes to its programming and services, which will be introduced to address financial shortfalls and to position itself for future success as the national public broadcaster to English-speaking Canada. Spending reductions overall will total approximately $85 million for 2009/10 and will affect 393 full-time equivalent positions.
A series of cost-reduction measures will be implemented in coming months:
· Planned reductions in prime time entertainment, variety and factual entertainment programming, including the number of episodes of programs such as The Border, Being Erica, Little Mosque on the Prairie and others;
· Discontinuation of the daytime Living programs;
· Reduction of spending on children’s television programs;
· Reduction or elimination of some sports programming, including international figure skating, skiing, world aquatics, world athletics and some soccer programs;
· Reduction of staff at current affairs and consumer affairs programs the fifth estate and Marketplace;
· CBC News overall will see a reduction of approximately $7 million and 80 positions;
· Recently announced cancellation of daytime program Fashion File and hiatus of Steven and Chris
· On CBC Radio, discontinuation of network programs The Point, Outfront, The Inside Track, In the Key of Charles and the weekend edition of The Signal;
· Reduction of regional radio noontime programs to one hour;
· Reduction of live music recordings and radio drama;
· Closure of one-person bureaus in La Ronge, SK, Thompson, MB;
· Reduced staffing in: Windsor, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Quebec City, Moncton, Saint John, Sydney, Corner Brook, Labrador, Gander and Grand Falls, NL;
· Reductions in staffing at both the network and regional levels for all platforms.
In spite of the critical financial constraints the Corporation is facing, CBC will maintain a commitment to its non-commercial radio service, Canadian television programming in prime time, its regional programming network, its industry-leading broadcast news operations and internet platforms, said Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of English Services.
“Our objective throughout this very difficult exercise has been to protect as best we can the programs and services we provide to Canadians, as well as our most valuable resource, the CBC employees who provide them,” Stursberg said. “That being said, we recognize that the reality is that we will provide less to Canadians: fewer programs and hours of programming, fewer songs written and performed, less debate and discussion of public issues and fewer Canadian stories being told.”
Stursberg noted that despite last fall’s precipitous decline in advertising revenues, CBC Television, CBC Radio and CBC.ca have been experiencing considerable success with their respective audiences. Every month, about 20 million Canadians, representing about 80 per cent of the country’s English-speaking population, turn to CBC for news, information and entertainment.
CBC Television’s Canadian prime time schedule is now attracting bigger audiences than one of its major private sector competitors, whose prime time schedule is overwhelmingly American content. This is the first time in the history of Canadian television that an all-Canadian schedule has beaten an all-American one. CBC Television’s market share has increased 33 percent since 2004/05, while those of other national networks have declined.
CBC Radio One and Radio 2, with a combined national market share of 14 per cent, are at an all time high. Radio 3 is the country’s most innovative and robust online radio service, while CBC.ca continues as the country’s leading news and entertainment website.
“Overall, our strategic priorities remain,” Stursberg said. “We want to continue to increase audiences in both television and radio. We will continue our renewal of CBC News. We will continue to be firmly rooted in the regions and we will make investments in the new platforms required for the future. We’ll do this within the framework of our available resources.”
In addition to programming changes, English Services will be introducing proportional reductions in both spending and staffing throughout its administrative infrastructure. The reduction of jobs will be achieved through a combination of voluntary retirements, elimination of vacancies and separations in accordance with collective agreements and in close consultation with CBC unions.
“Everyone in this organization recognizes the difficulties we are facing,” Stursberg concluded. “Our plan is to continue with honesty, transparency and respect for not only our employees, but also for the audiences we serve. Our mandate remains, and we remain committed to it.”
I can also tell you that The Current's facing a 10% operational budget cut.
If you're really into it, check my Twitter feed for my livetweets of today and yesterday's announcements. (@domideas)
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