CBC cuts drastic

NNSL (NOV 18/96) - More than 30 of 140 staff at CBC North -- a fifth of its workforce -- will probably lose their jobs by April 1998, says its regional director.

And the corporation's daily television news programs may not be around come next September.

"We've already communicated to our staff in a general way that in terms of radio positions, 17 positions will be lost.... Some scenarios we've worked out have that number closer to 20," Marie Wilson told News/North.

CBC North faces a 39-per-cent cut to its television budget, and a 28-per-cent cut to radio. In television, up to 14 jobs will be lost.

"We are clear on the radio side what the radio adjustments are going to be to meet the target that we've been given. Programming changes are still to be worked out." Wilson said.

With territorial division coming in 1999, CBC North is sticking by plans to keep production facilities in the Yellowknife, Iqaluit and Whitehorse.

However, it is adopting the new national philosophy of "single journalistic leadership".

Current affairs and news reporters now work separately. Under the new plan, all reporters will contribute to both departments. "It's going to take a lot of training and a lot of attitude shifting," Wilson said.

As for Northbeat and Igalaaq -- CBC North's one-year-old nightly newscast and current affair shows -- Wilson says it's too to write their obituaries.

"There's going to be something on air next fall. It's probably premature of me to say it's going to be called Northbeat," said Wilson.

Radio staff will know by Dec. 1 if they will lose their jobs. Layoffs in television will be done in three stages between then and April 1998.

In the meantime, Wilson hopes a groundswell of support from politicians and aboriginal groups to exempt CBC North from the cuts.

Manitok Thompson, territorial minister of municipal and community affairs, was expected to meet with CBC Chairman Perrin Beatty today to plead for an exemption.

"Everybody's big hope is that the federal government stands back and says 'well, maybe it is more of an essential service in some parts of the country.' It would be nice to hope that there's some re-thinking on the part of the federal government."