Station to Station

Tough Cuts at PBS New York

1/23/2009 03:06:40 PM

Pretty deep cuts have hit New York PBS stations WNET and WLIW, as charitable contributions are harder to come by and endowments shrink. The duo has cut 8% from its joint budget, reports the New York Times, and 14% of staff–about 80 people.

“Nothing is moving in the right direction,” said Neal Shapiro, president and chief executive of WNET.org, the stations’ parent company, referring to lower donations during the December pledge drive, reduced prospects for corporate underwriting and a 25 percent drop since June in the value of WNET.org’s endowment, to $84.5 million from $112 million.

The New York Observer says times will get tougher at the public stations.

Governor David Paterson recently submitted a budget that calls for a 50 percent reduction in the overall funding for public television-a reduction which, if passed, would amount to a roughly $4.5 million cut for WNET.org.

“If that happens, we’ll have to take more actions,” warned Mr. Shapiro.

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