Saskatchewan

Radio operation in La Ronge falls victim to CBC budget cuts

Facing what it described as a budget crisis, CBC managers outlined cuts to regional operations Thursday, including the closure of its one-person bureau in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.

Facing what it described as a budget crisis, CBC managers outlined cuts to regional operations Thursday, including the closure of its one-person bureau in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.

It means the cancelation of the noon-hour show Keewatin Country, which has been broadcast across an array of small transmitters to Saskatchewan's vast northern area.

The La Ronge location had been operating since the late 1970s. The decision will result in the reduction of one job, associated with the location.

The longtime host of Keewatin Country is Tom Roberts.

Other cuts for CBC English include a reduction in the noon hour radio show Blue Sky, from two hours to one hour. Managers said that change will result in the elimination of one position.

Another position was eliminated in CBC Saskatchewan's performance department.

On the television side, the CBC canceled the lifestyle show Living Saskatchewan affecting a small crew of contract employees.

Managers said efforts would be made to manage the staff cuts with voluntary retirement offers and vacancies, so as to minimize the actual number of lay off notices.

CBC said more changes will be announced on April 16 that will affect the news operations of the public broadcaster.

Debbie Carpentier, CBC's Saskatchewan's acting managing director, said audiences will notice the cuts.

"Our Blue Sky noon show will go from a two-hour program to a one-hour program. La Ronge programming bureau will close and the people from Northern Saskatchewan will be part of our Blue Sky audience," Carpentier said on Thursday.

"We know that radio performance, who produces a number of concerts for Canada Live, which is our Radio 2 network program — their contributions will continue but they will be reduced. Living Saskatchewan will no longer be produced."

Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of English Services at CBC, told staff that two one-person bureaus were cut to meet the corporation's budget shortfall, the one in La Ronge, and another in Thompson, Man.

The cuts are part of an overall reduction in CBC's English service by 393 jobs.

Carpentier told staff on Thursday that there was no precise date for when the on-air changes would be made.

According to Stursberg, a corporate news renewal strategy, which had been in development prior to the budget crunch, will be unveiled on April 16 and will include details of other job losses not specifically referenced on Thursday, but part of the overall 393 positions to be eliminated.

Stursberg said a total of 80 news jobs, across the English system, will be eliminated, 53 of which have yet to be determined.

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