CBC Employees Wait For Axe To Fall

CBC Charlottetown (Photo S. Pate)
Up to $200 million shortfall from Hockey Night In Canada income means drastic cuts to CBC staff and programs

By Stephen Pate – 12:30 noon April 10, 2014 will be Black Thursday at CBC.  President Hubert Lacroix will announce his plan to cut back CBC’s expenses and capital costs by $200 million, trying to save the once invincible national broadcasting treasure.

“There are a lot of nervous people in CBC,” said an anonymous source inside the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. There are “rumors of contracts not being renewed and questions about downsizing the building.”

Like many CBC stations, CBC Charlottetown occupies an oversized building on prime real estate which is not needed to produce one supper time news show a day. The story of excess spending is repeated across Canada as CBC comes off a spending boom that can no longer be justified.

CBC Charlottetown one TV news show and a few hours of radio – overstaffed in an oversized building (Photo S. Pate)

CBC Hamilton serves an audience of 700,000 with no radio or TV broadcast and 10 employees. CBC Adopts Blogging Only News Room. About 50 people work at the much smaller CBC Charlottetown, PEI.

CBC Charlottetown has the luxury of the 90 minutes of TV news, on a 30 minute repeat rotation,  and 4.5 hours of drive-to-work-and-home radio broadcast five-days-a-week for an audience of 140,000 in Canada’s smallest province. It is estimated that 50 people work at CBC Charlottetown compared to 10 in Hamilton with 5 times the audience/market.

In the face of downsizing to meet their budget, how long Charlottetown will function as it now exists is the big question. Charlottetown is just one story of CBC’s excess spending.  For every community that relies on those well-paying CBC jobs Lacroix’s announcement will not be appreciated.

“CBC does seem committed to news, but then there is always the speculation about shutting down local in favor of regional programming.”

CBC may cut roughly 600 positions on Thursday, lobby group says wrote the Financial Post.  “This would be the third major round of job cuts in five years after the CBC announced plans to lay off up to 800 workers in 2009 and about 650 employees in 2012.”

CBC President Hubert Lacroix told the Canadian Senate in February 2014, the CBC stands to lose 50% of the their $400 million in advertising revenue. CBC used Hockey Night in Canada as the carrot and stick to get advertisers to take ads in less popular shows during non-prime time. The carrot is gone.  How Lacroix Bet The CBC And Lost

“Sports could be severely gutted because we don’t cover much now,” said our source, “now that we’ve lost Hockey Night in Canada. Sales people are very concerned, because less opportunity to sell advertising.”

“The President’s over spending was an embarrassment for everyone. Since the Separation threat is over, might (cuts) finally hit the French Services budget?”

“All I know for sure is we’re becoming a very different CBC, a loss of professionalism, more short term casuals, more superficial stories that don’t serve anybody.”

Follow me on Twitter at @sdpate or on Facebook at NJN Network, OyeTimes and IMA News Buzz.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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