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CBC Cuts Hit Radio

Loss of hockey package to Rogers hits national broadcaster; TV takes hardest check

CBC Radio’s two English networks — Radio One and Radio 2 — are losing employees and consolidating programs in the wake of a $130 million revenue shortfall suffered by Canada’s public broadcaster (2014–2015 budget: CA$913 million).

The loss is a combination of continued government funding cutbacks, plus CBC-TV being outbid by private broadcaster Rogers for the rights to National Hockey League broadcasts; CBC’s most important source of advertising revenues.

Compared to what’s happening at CBC-TV, CBC Radio is getting off lightly. Most of the 657 job cuts are occurring on the TV side, where CBC is abandoning professional sport coverage due to costs.

That said, CBC Radio listeners will notice the impact of the cuts. On Radio One, reductions to content production will result in more program repeats, cuts to regional music performance shows, and combining some local shows into single regional broadcasts. A plan to open a station in the London, Ontario market has also been cancelled.

The news is worse on Radio 2. Thanks to newly introduced ad sales bringing in CA$13 million less than expected, “We can no longer afford to keep resources to record live music in every location across Canada,” said Chris Boyce, CBC’s executive director of Radio & Audio. “So we’ve had to cut 12 regional music positions across the country. This is means listeners will hear less live music.”

Since CBC’s broadcast license forbids it from airing ads on the more popular Radio One, Canada’s public broadcaster will have to bear these cuts. They are the latest in a series that stretches back to the 1990s.