Anticipating loss of state funding, WQED terminates 11 spots

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Nine employees are laid off and two vacancies are gone, effective immediately, at WQED in Pittsburgh, according to a station statement. “This is a drastic action and a very painful day in the history of this station, in Pittsburgh and in this region that we serve when we have to respond to financial pressures by cutting staff,” said George L. Miles Jr., President and CEO of WQED Multimedia. The station has been waging a public-relations campaign for months to raise awareness of a possible $1.1 million budget cut if Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed budget passes. “We now have to confront the reality that these state monies may never be reinstated,” Miles said. Potential reductions in individual donations as well as private foundation and corporate support for the rest of the year prompted the station to make changes now; its fiscal year begins Oct. 1. WQED is also considering eliminating some national programming such as The Lawrence Welk Show. KDKA, the local CW affiliate, is reporting that WQED Board President Richard Stover said the station is asking the region’s foundations to continue or increase their support. “We are in the process of presenting the foundations a strategic plan,” he said.