Illinois Public Media cuts staff, changes format due to budget crunch

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Illinois Public Media in Urbana-Champaign will realign its AM, FM and TV staffing to survive its budget woes. The operation at the University of Illinois will eliminate nine staff positions, phase out the weather department, add news to its FM classical format, shift its AM news staff to more local coverage and outreach, and add three staff positions in “areas with potential for revenue growth.” General Manager Mark Leonard announced the overhaul in a statement on its website. Illinois Public Media has been operating with a deficit during the current fiscal year as a result of $110,000 in budget cuts from the Illinois Arts Council that were announced in October, Leonard said. “We cannot continue to do things the way we’ve done them in the past,” he said. “If we do, we’re spreading ourselves too thin across too many projects. And we’ll miss the opportunities that technology offers to provide public media in new ways.” The station provided an FAQ to address listener and viewer concerns. The station is one of several in Illinois working with CPB consultants to explore a cost-saving merger.

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