Canadian pubcaster CBC will cut 650 jobs and 175 hours of original programming by 2015 as government spending cuts begin to bite into its operation.
The Canadian government announced in March that it was slashing CBC’s budget by 10%, or C$115m (US$114.7m), leaving it facing a budget shortfall of C$200m once investments and cost increases are taken into account.
In its English Services division, 215 full time jobs will be cut by July 31 and a further 41 will go over the next two years.
Within those cuts the news department will lose 88 jobs, its South American and South African bureaus will close and magazine show Connect, presented by Mark Kelly, will be axed. This will bring about a saving of C$86m over three years.
In the French arm of CBC, 153 jobs will go this year and a further 90 thereafter to save C$64m.
CBC Radio is cutting foreign news show Dispatches and will no longer commission original dramas for Radio One. Live music and concert recordings will also be reduced.
In corporate 105 jobs are to go with a further 46 going by 2015 to save $50m meaning 473 job cuts by the end of July and 650 in total.
Union briefings will begin this week with redundancy notices delivered by the end of April and layoff letters delivered on June 21. The first round of job cuts will be implemented on July 31.
Overall, the broadcaster intends to reduce its original programming output but 175 hours a year and air more repeats in primetime. There will be six fewer series than are currently produced, fewer specials, and the in-house documentary unit will be scaled back. There will be fewer and less expensive factual programmes in primetime.
The broadcaster admitted in a presentation on Tuesday that this would have a significant ripple effect through Canada’s creative industry, with a single drama series alone accounting for around 200 jobs.
CBC News editor in chief Jennifer McGuire said: “There’s no real way to sugar coat the impact of the cuts. These are great programmes we are losing. The sad truth is we had to go there to meet the number.”
Plans for regional expansion into Hamilton will launch on schedule later this year but in London, Waterloo and Saskatoon the roll out will be delayed. The Bold channel that airs drama, comedy, culture and sports and is headquartered in Toronto will be sold off.
In sport the channel’s contract to screen live NHL matches as part of its famous Hockey Night In Canada programme ends in 2014 but executives have warned not to “count them out” of renewing the deal. Nevertheless $4m is being cut from the sports budget along with 14 positions and the hours of Sports Weekend will be reduced.
CBC is also looking for a new board chairman with Timothy Casgrain’s five-year term up in December.