Pennsylvania’s WVIA turns around budget after 18 percent state cut

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After losing 18 percent of its budget in state funding cuts last year, WVIA in Pittston, Pa., ended its fiscal year 2010 on June 30 with a surplus, reports the Times-Leader newspaper. “We’ve got a better station today than we had a year ago,” President and CEO Bill Kelly told the paper. “If you had told me that a year ago, I’d have told you you were nuts.” It hasn’t been an easy journey, however. More than seven positions were eliminated and the remaining 38 full-time staffers took a 5 percent pay cut and furloughs. Kelly took a 15 percent salary reduction and management took 12 percent. On the programming side, The Ballroom Dancing Show and Pennsylvania Polka ended, as well as the station’s Pennsylvania Independent Film Festival. Some $35,000 in revenue came from a new “video for hire” service. Listeners stepped up donations, particularly on the radio side, nearly offsetting the funding drop by contributing $718,000. Of the experience, Kelly said: “It was a culture change, of which we had no choice.”

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