Dec 5, 2008

Chicago Public Radio cuts 11 staffers

Chicago Public Radio laid off 11 full-time employees today -- 9 percent of its workforce, according to the station. "Although we continue to see positive growth in our overall audience and high responsiveness to our fundraising campaigns, we have experienced revenue shortfalls due to a significant drop in our average donation and limited growth in corporate underwriting," the station said in a letter to its board and Community Advisory Council, also shared with Current. The cuts come as the station faces a $1.5 million budget shortfall, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Reader lists some of the laid-off employees, which include two hosts of CPR's startup web/radio hybrid, The Reader's media critic wrote about earlier this year. A recent article in Chicago’s Time Out looks critically at’s execution: “…[T]o many people who hear Malatia’s new radio project, it doesn’t sound like groundbreaking radio. Often, it just sounds like college radio.”

Lehrer on podcasting, The Takeaway and more

Brian Lehrer, host of an eponymous weekday talk show on New York’s WNYC, fielded a variety of questions this week from readers of the New York Times’s website. “Frankly, I don’t consider my program a radio show anymore,” he wrote in response to a question about podcasting and the future of radio. “I think of it as a radio-based multiplatform interactive news and issue … media thing. If we come up with a short, cogent name for that, I’ll use it. Ideas welcome.” (Via the PRPD blog.)

Rowland: Create trust fund for pubcasting's political coverage

Public broadcasters should receive proceeds from a tax on campaign ad spending to support their political coverage, argues Wick Rowland, president of Colorado Public Television, in an op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News. “A 3 percent tax on the commercial media expenditures for the 2008 federal elections would have provided roughly $100 million, which could have been invested in a public broadcasting political coverage trust fund,” he writes. “With such a resource, public television and radio stations all over the country could greatly expand and improve their debate work.”

PBS Hawaii plans move to new home

PBS Hawaii plans to buy the soon-to-be-vacated headquarters of Honolulu’s NBC affiliate and move into the studios within the next few years, reports the Pacific Business News. The pubcaster now leases space from the University of Hawaii but failed to secure another long-term lease from the school. It may add a building to its new home, which is much smaller than its current space. “It’s a wonderful ‘control your own destiny’ moment,” said PBS Hawaii President Leslie Wilcox.