Eighty WNET-WLIW employees among latest recession victims
Eighty staffers of New York’s WNET and WLIW got word that they’ve lost their jobs Jan. 22 and 23 as the licensee WNET.org adjusted to falling revenues.
The licensee said it cut staffing 14 percent and reduced spending for the two stations by 8 percent. It hasn’t dropped any programs but is reconsidering all programs in development.
Donations and underwriting revenues were down significantly, notably in donations from the damaged financial sector, President Neal Shapiro told the New York Observer. The licensee's endowment fell 25 percent in value to $84.5 million, though it said its investments fared better than the stock market's generally.
Further changes will be necessary, Shapiro said, if the state government halves its $8.7 million support, as proposed by Gov. David Paterson.
In San Francisco, blogger and former KQED exec David Weir predicted serious cuts at the station. Weir himself was laid off earlier in January by a web startup, Predictify.com.
Among the other stations retrenching:
- Colorado Public Radio cut back plans to expand its daily Colorado Matters news program from 30 to 60 minutes while adding an adjacent hourlong talk show, Westword reported. The news expansion to an hour is delayed until spring, and the talk show will debut as a weekly feature.
- South of Los Angeles, KOCE reduced its spending by $550,000, cutting its Real Orange newscast from five to two or three new productions a week and laying off two or three staffers, the Orange County Register said last week.
- WEDU in Tampa has laid off four employees, trimmed survivors’ pay by 5 percent and stopped paying into their retirement accounts, the St. Petersburg Times reported.
- In Indianapolis, WFYI laid off five staffers and cancelled shows including new productions of its Across Indiana magazine show. Gov. Mitch Daniels proposes to cut $3.5 million in funding for pubcasters in the state for next fiscal year, or almost 10 percent of their budgets, the Indianapolis Star reported.
- South Carolina ETV eliminated 15 fulltime and 28 parttime positions in December, reacting to a 14 percent cut in state funding. SCETV said it gets two-thirds of its budget from the state.
Web page posted Feb. 6, 2009
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