PBS eliminating 21 positions, Kerger tells stations

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PBS is eliminating 13 current staff positions and eight vacancies, PBS President Paula Kerger said in a letter to the system today (July 13).”This was not an easy decision to make, and we wish our departing staff the best as they pursue other opportunities,” Kerger said. Six “new or restructured” positions also will be added, including two new vice presidents of general audience programming to support the ongoing revamp of PBS’s primetime lineup. “Change can be difficult, but I remain convinced that by focusing on our larger goals, we will come out on the other end as a stronger organization prepared to support our mission and stations,” Kerger said.

  • Pro Tip for Kerger: You can save Word documents as templates. It makes sending the same memo repeatedly (over the next several years) much more efficient. Just change the names and numbers and presto! your work is done.

    That’s much easier than leading the pubTV community through constructive conversations and strategic changes.

  • Anonymous

    PBS was a great solution to the limited-choice media universe of the 1960s and 1970s. Not so necessary now.

  • Anonymous

    21 down 10,000 to go.

  • Anonymous

    Oh yes! By all means be certain to add vice-presidents and cut staff.

  • Anonymous

    A call for ‘fairness’ and ‘shared sacrifice’ at PBS!!!

    Instead of eliminating 21-positions, PBS could instead institute an across the board pay-cut to save those 21-employees? For example, every PBS employee could take a 10% paycut? Better still, PBS could institute a ‘progressive’ pay-cut, such that low-level employees take a trivial paycut (0.5%). As one climbs up the pay-scale, the paycut would grow (5.5%, 10.5%, 15.5%, 20.5%, etc).

    It is important to be ‘fair’ and to experience ‘shared sacrifice’.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, more White House staffers getting the boot.

  • Anonymous

    Apologies for the anonymous post but as a PBS employee, I’m afraid I’ll lose my job if I include my name. I completely agree with the comment about more strategic cost reductions and not adding more vps! Also, appreciate the info about the 990. For those of you who don’t have a Guidestar.org account (it’s free, by the way). . . below is a snapshot of PBS executive compensation in 2010 (remember this is a non-profit with a struggling business model):

    ceo: $652,320
    coo: $440,020
    chief content officer: $433,322
    cfo: $399,119
    general counsel: $384,817
    cto: $363,090
    head of ventures: $361,951
    head of interactive; $354,282
    head of kids/promotion: $347,558
    head of station services: $331,779
    head of primetime: $331,038

    With all due respect, these salaries would only be justified for a thriving business. Not one that continues to cut lower-level employees and re-arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • Anonymous

    When I first saw this I thought good finally national PBS is going to have to make some sacrifices like many local stations have had to do. Then I read the part about adding 6 new positions and I begin to understand why primary stations are being forced to make the difficult decision to leave the PBS system. Maybe if the upper management staff were cut PBS could cut the amount of dues they charge the stations and we wouldn’t be hurting so much.
    Just how do you justify over $4million in salaries for upper management? Do you poop gold nuggets or what to be worth that much? They probably had to cut the 21 worker bees so they could afford the 6 overseeers. Shame on you Paula and your management team.

  • At what point will the executives get it? They are not needed if there are no more employees. It seems to me that the more layoffs and “reductions” to staff that are made; the bigger bonus they get. Somehow that doesn’t seem right. I’m just sayin…

  • Gigi56

    I worked for a local PBS station 30 years ago — for about 2 years. I figured out right away that it was not the place for me and moved to commercial television. Getting things done was a nightmare. People were all about “funding.” In the commercial world, everyone understood that you either won the audience or lost. And that’s where the money came from. And that’s the bottom line. And that bottom line fed every position, not just the executives. Unfortunately, PBS is still as poorly managed today as it was when I was just starting my career 30 years ago. I’m sorry for those of you who lost your jobs. But look at it this way: they may have done you a favor in the grand scheme of things. Move into the private sector and start making some real money. Learn real management and working skills. By the way, it did take me a few years to overcome “public TV” on my resume. Unfortunately, unless you’ve got some Emmys, that experience may not count for much.