CBC to cut executive pay, try to sell assets

Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:13pm EDT
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian Broadcasting Corp, the government-owned operator of national television and radio networks, will cut executive compensation, offer voluntary retirement incentives and try to sell assets as it fights a funding shortfall caused by a sharp advertising downturn.

The public broadcaster's plan, already approved by its board, "assumes that the government will authorize our sale of enough assets to finance our way through this without deeper cuts," CBC Chief Executive Hubert Lacroix said in a memo sent to staff on Wednesday.

This is the strongest language the CBC has offered thus far about whether it will try to shed assets as it tries to make up for the revenue shortfall

"I know these are anxious times," Lacroix wrote.

The CBC, like other media companies, has struggled with a drop in ad revenue as the recession forces marketers to slash spending.

Lacroix wrote that the CBC is not planning to add more U.S. programing to its English-language TV schedule, as had earlier been considered, nor will it air commercials on its radio services.

The broadcaster, which receives more than C$1 billion ($813 million) in funding from the federal government each year, is also freezing executive salaries and cutting bonus payouts by 50 percent, the memo states.

As well, the CBC's board has backed a voluntary retirement incentive program, subject to government approval.   Continued...