Canada’s CBC Public Broadcasting announced today that 256 jobs, overseas news bureaus, and programs on both its TV and Radio services, would be lost due to government cutbacks and budget shortfalls. At the same time it is looking for a new chairperson for its Board of Directors. Though the gig is only part time and pays a mere $17,000 a year. CBC Board chair Timothy Casgrain’s five-year term is up. Five of the 12-member CBC board, including CBC President and CEO Hubert Lacroix, are up for renewal this year. Appointed by the current government in 2008, Lacroix’s present term is set to expire in December 2012.
The layoffs will take place this spring and summer. In the English Services portion of the bilingual company, 215 full time jobs will be cut by July 31st, with the remaining 51 to come in the next two years. In the Radio-Canada French portion of the company, 153 jobs are being slashed by this summer. In corporate CBC, 105 jobs will be lost. That’s a total of 473 jobs gone by the end of July. An additional 177 jobs are to be pink- slipped by 2015 to meet the Canadian government’s $115 million CBC budget cuts announced on March 29th. The cuts are part of the CBC’s efforts to find $200 million in budget savings, plus another $25 million for severances and other one-time costs to overset the government cuts and rising operational costs.
EVP Kirstine Stewart told a town hall audience in Toronto Tuesday (read the CBC Presentation here) that the English Services news department will lose 88 jobs, the magazine show Connect with Mark Kelly and its South America and Africa bureaus will be closed. To save $86 million over the next three years, CBC Radio will be cutting the foreign news show Dispatches, as well as no longer commissioning radio dramas. Other cuts including 175 hours fewer of original programming, with more repeats, fewer specials, six fewer series and a reduction of the corporation’s in-house documentary unit. No decision has been made yet if CBC will renew its pricey TV rights to NHL games when the present contract is up in 2014.