Tuesday, April 10, 2012

CBC cancels Connect and Dispatches in response to federal budget cuts

The axe has come down on CBC Radio’s Dispatches and CBC TV’s Connect with Mark Kelley along with 256 jobs in English-language programming over the next three years.
The details of the cuts — a result of the federal budget that will cut the public broadcaster’s funding by 10 per cent, or $115 million, over the next three years — came in a “town hall” announcement by Kirstine Stewart, the CBC’s executive vice-president of English services.
The 256 job losses, the vast majority of which will take place within months, are part of the 650 positions being eliminated over the next three years. The CBC announced last week that programming and positions would be cut.
Among the more high-profile casualties include Dispatches, which is hosted by Rick MacInnes-Rae, and the television news affair show Connect, which is hosted by Mark Kelley. Both will be cancelled as of June. 
Other cuts include:
  Some 175 fewer hours of original programming — one-quarter of the total — resulting in the cancellation of the equivalent of six primetime television series.
   The closing of news bureaus in South America and Africa and downsizing the broadcaster’s Los Angeles bureau. Staffing will increase in the Washington and London bureaus.
  The elimination of drama on CBC Radio and a major reduction in the amount of live music recordings and concerts on radio, with the closing of recording space in St. John’s, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton.
  A $4 million cut to CBC Sports, resulting in the loss of 14 positions, and airing Sports Weekend primarily during the winter months, though some summer sports events will still be covered.
  The elimination of a cross-cultural fund shared by the CBC’s English and French branches.

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