Television Listings

CBC to slash 800 jobs

By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, the publicly owned operator of national television and radio networks, will cut 800 jobs to help fight a funding shortfall caused by a sharp advertising downturn, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Details regarding which areas of the public broadcaster's operations will be affected by the cuts were not immediately available.

The CBC, which receives more than C$1 billion ($813 million) in funding from the federal government each year, was expected to make a public announcement containing further specifics later on Wednesday. Asset sales are also expected to be among the CBC's cost-cutting measures.

Like other media companies, the CBC is struggling with a plunge in ad revenue as the recession forces marketers to reduce spending.

Last week, CBC Chief Executive Hubert Lacroix told employees in a memo that executive compensation will be cut and that voluntary retirement incentives will be offered.

Aside from government funding, the CBC normally generates roughly C$600 million a year in revenue from commercial activities, including about C$340 million from advertising.

The broadcaster has turned to the government for help, but it insists it isn't asking for more money. Instead, it has suggested a line of credit or an advance on future funding to deal with the current crisis.

The government has replied that it expects the CBC to cut costs just like its private-sector competitors.

Cost cuts at two private-sector Canadian broadcasters, CTV and Canwest Global Communications Corp, have already resulted in hundreds of layoffs. CTV has cut 225 jobs since late November, while Canwest has cut 560, including 210 at its broadcasting operations.

Canwest is also looking at selling five conventional TV stations and CTV has announced that it will shut down two stations.

($1=$1.23 Canadian)

(Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway)

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