Recession forces NAC to cut up to 40 jobs
By Cassandra Drudi, The Ottawa Citizen
June 10, 2009
One of Ottawa's cultural institutions is facing cuts to combat lowered sales brought on by the recession, as the National Arts Centre, faced with a budget shortfall of $3.8 million next year, will slash as many as 40 positions over the next two years. It will also make cuts in programming and administration.
"The impact of the recession has affected our business lines," Jayne Watson, director of communications for the NAC, said Tuesday. Everything from parking to restaurant sales and catering to box office sales and fundraising has been affected, she said.
The NAC aims to spread the cuts evenly across the programming and administrative side of its business and the wage and workforce side of things.
Watson said most of the cuts, which would reduce the workforce by about 10 per cent, should come through a combination of attrition, leaving vacant positions unfilled, and a "voluntary departure program," with a package open to all full-time staff.
The program is open to staff for a three-week period, and the NAC should have "a pretty good sense of how it's all going to play out" this summer, she said.
Tuesday's news comes about a month after National Gallery director Marc Mayer sent an e-mail to employees inviting them to take unpaid leaves or early retirement in an effort to prevent a deficit and avoid layoffs, citing financial concerns.
NAC employees were notified in an e-mail from the chief executive officer in March that there could be budgetary problems ahead, Watson said.
Those attending the NAC for subscription programming in 2009-2010 will likely not see a difference when in the audience, as that programming will not be affected by the cuts because it was all booked a year or more in advance, Watson said.
"For most people next year, in terms of audience, it will be seamless," she said. "Where it may be more evident is in 2010-2011."
By then, artistic directors will have a "slightly reduced envelope" to work with, she said.
Non-subscription programs, including Canada Day and other community programming, could be affected in the more immediate future, Watson said.
The belt-tightening can be seen in the annual Canada Day rooftop terrace party for donors and sponsors. The event, which used to have an open bar, will have a cash bar this year.
The invitation advises guests: "In keeping with the current economic climate, the NAC has simplified the format for this event."
The NAC hopes the impact of the budget shortfall on audiences and programming will be minimal.
"Obviously there will be an impact, but we believe that we can still manage through this process and put on terrific programming," Watson said.
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CBC changes format of Radio Two
Jan 17, 2007 09:10 PM
Andrea Baillie Canadian press
TORONTO – CBC's classical music station, Radio Two, is revamping its evening and late-night programming in a bid to attract younger listeners, the public broadcaster announced Wednesday.
"Half of our audience on Radio Two now is over 65 ... and we're not attracting new listeners into the service," said Jane Chalmers, vice-president of CBC Radio.
"We want to bring in the 40-plus kind of group ... In some ways it's our listeners' kids that we want."
The changes, set to take place March 19, will also affect programming on Radio One, including the cancellation of the afternoon pop-culture chat show "Freestyle."
Other CBC shows to be scrapped because of the revamp include ``Global Village" and "Brave New Waves."
Under the new format, Radio Two will feature a daily jazz program from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to be hosted in Montreal on weekdays by Katie Malloch. It will air from Calgary on weekends.
It will be followed from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. by a show focusing on live music performed by acts across the country. The weekday host for that show will be Matt Galloway, who will also continue his Toronto drive-time duties on Radio One.
Laurie Brown, formerly of "The New Music," will helm a nightly contemporary music show from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Radio Two.
The changes also mean that Radio One listeners can expect to hear more talk and drama and less music.
"Dispatches," hosted by Rick MacInnes-Rae, will be expanded to include elements of the world music show "Global Village."
Chalmers said the changes are designed, in part, to better reflect the makeup of the country.
"The growth in Canada now is happening through immigration. We're seeing people move to different parts of the country, they want to hear more music coming from the communities that they live in," she said, referring to the new program of live concerts across Canada.
"We have to constantly look at how we are serving Canadians from the perspective of where they are and the perspective of their interests."
Chalmers said the changes mean that 63 employees at CBC will be reassigned, possibly resulting in one or two layoffs.
The watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has been a frequent critic of CBC-TV, but had praise for Wednesday's radio announcement.
"You have to update and improve," said spokesman Ian Morrison, calling the changes "responsible management."
"We have to support the idea of trying to adjust to younger demographics ... and as long as they're sensitive to their existing audience, I commend them."