PBS Makes More Cuts

Staff cutbacks, salary reductions in effort to close $3.4 million budget deficit

The Public Broadcasting Service Thursday instituted new staff cutbacks, as well as temporary reductions in salaries and benefits.

It is all part of trying to close a $3.4 million budget deficit in 2010, according to a PBS source, who said the cutbacks were announced at a staff meeting. PBS stations have been hit hard by the financial crisis.

PBS has cut about 10% of its workforce in the past six months via layoffs and unfilled positions, but more staffers got the news Wednesday, though it was not clear how many. PBS is now at 453 positions, which means about 45 positions have been cut in that six-month period.

Starting July 1, which is the beginning of PBS' 2010 fiscal year, salaries of all non-union workers--essentially all but technicians, said the source--will get a 3.85% reduction pay for six months. In addition, pay raises have been cancelled.

The cancellations, cuts and temporary cuts apply to all top managers, which includes Paula Kerger president and CEO, and Michael Jones, chief operating officer.

Starting Jan. 1, PBS will also cut its contribution to retirement benefits from 8% to 6% of salary for a six-month period.

The cuts will get PBS about halfway to that $3.4 million total, according to the source.

The "plan going forward" was for the benefits and salaries to return to current levels after six months, but the employees were also told that PBS would need to manage the financial situation "dynamically."