Restructuring at WKYU cuts three jobs, merges radio and TV production

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Three staff positions — including that of the television station manager — have been cut at WKYU at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. The lay-offs were part of a restructuring that prepares the dual licensee for a potential 10 percent reduction in federal funding.

WKYU staff members who lost their jobs are Terry Reagan, development director; Linda Gerofsky, TV station manager; and Dorin Bobarnac, engineer. Thirty-one employees remain at the dual licensee.

James Morgese, a veteran pubcaster who took over as director of educational telecommunications at the university earlier this month, told Current that the restructuring includes creation of a single content division and allows radio and television staff to collaborate in producing programs for radio, television and the web. The change positions WKYU to be “a next-generation new media outlet,” he said.

Morgese, former president of Denver-based Rocky Mountain PBS, moved quickly to streamline operations in anticipation of the possible sequestration of the federal budget in January. If the cuts take effect, WKYU would lose $95,000 in CPB aid. The station operates on an annual budget of between $1.2 million and $1.5 million, he said.  “Small stations like us pay attention” when they hear of a potential 10 percent drop in their CPB Community Service Grants.

Across-the-board rollbacks in federal spending are required under the Budget Control Act enacted in August 2011, and will take effect if Congress fails to work out a deal reducing the federal deficit before January 2. Sequestration would slice 8 percent or more from CPB’s $445 million appropriation for fiscal 2013.

Under the WKYU restructuring, the roles of several staff members are changing: Don Eastman, former radio engineer, is now chief engineer for radio and TV; David Brinkley, previously television senior producer/director, is TV station manager; and Linda Oldham is taking on a “more independent role” in her current position as TV program manager, Morgese said.

During his years running Denver’s PBS outlet KRMA, Morgese led the station through expansion into a statewide public TV network, Rocky Mountain PBS.  Morgese left RMPBS in 2008 to run his own new-media consulting firm; he later tried retirement, “but went crazy,” he recalled. Before joining WKYU this month, he served as executive director of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina.