CBC bloodbath

The CBC press release is here.

Following is the CBC report, from its website, in full:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. plans to cut up to 800 jobs to make up for a $171 million shortfall in 2009-10.

CBC president and chief executive Hubert Lacroix announced the layoffs Wednesday in a broadcast to employees.

He said the public broadcaster also needs to sell $125 million worth of assets to make up the shortfall in operating costs.

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.

Layoffs could start in May. The full number of layoffs could be reduced if some employees opt for retirement.

The public broadcaster will announce more specifics of cuts to individual departments in meetings with employees throughout the country on Thursday.

“For senior executives, coming up with a plan to get out of this mess has been as tough a task as most of us have faced. It’s not been fun,” Lacroix said.

The cuts became necessary after the federal government turned down CBC’s request for bridge financing that could have helped the public broadcaster weather the economic recession, Lacroix said.

Lacroix said CBC would not change some key areas, including:

Radio One and Radio 2 will remain free of ads.
CBC TV will maintain its commitment to 80 per cent Canadian content in primetime.
CBC will continue to invest in new media platforms.
Regional stations will not be closed.
However, he warned CBC would be forced to make “many difficult choices” regarding programming.

Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of English services, told employees CBC’s English service has already cut $50 million from programming.

A total of $85 million will have to be cut, he said, about $14.4 million from radio and $70.3 million from television.

This will result in layoffs and could also lead to more repeat programming, Stursberg said.

He said job cuts would fall disproportionately on national English television because of CBC’s commitment to continue building its regional TV service.

The CBC has already committed to freezing executive salaries.