CBC: “We Don’t Need No Stinking Publicists”

    April 12, 2005

The Globe & Mail is reporting today that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has laid off 35 employees from its communications group …

… mostly publicists-as part of an effort to cut $1.7 million from the department’s annual budget.

The employees-based in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver-were told their work would be shifted to outside PR agencies, although the CBC will hire five “promotions managers” who will serve as a liaison between the network and the outside agencies, working to draw more attention to radio and TV programming. One of the PR people losing his job after nearly 20 years with the CBC said, “They basically laid off every TV and radio network publicist, with the lion’s share of affected jobs in Toronto.”

A CBC spokesperson, Ruth-Ellen Soles, was quoted in the story saying the effort was designed to target audiences within their markets rather than have all publicity efforts managed out of Toronto. Publicists working in local markets such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina will keep their jobs. “We’re moving toward more of an agency model,” Soles said. Or a model that costs less.

One wonders how good a job the communications department leadership was doing in quantifying the value of its efforts-or if such measurement would have kept the budgetary axe from falling. In any event, some of the employees affected have already taken the matter to the Canadian Media Guild.

Article Reference: CBC guts PR staff

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.