Pittsburgh’s WQED implements layoffs as part of restructuring

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Pittsburgh’s WQED implemented layoffs this week as part of what it called a “minor reorganization” to help bring expenses in line with projected revenue.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday that WQED laid off three full-time employees and one part-time employee. The station also reduced five full-time employees to part-time and cut four vacant positions from its budget.

“With the start of its new fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2014, WQED will reorganize staff to reflect the changing media landscape,” the station said in a prepared statement. “The changes will not be noticeable to viewers of WQED’s multiple television signals, its multiple radio streams or in its educational mission in the community. The reorganization will bring expenses in line with projected revenue in the coming fiscal year.”

WQED declined further requests for comment, citing personnel issues.

According to WQED’s most recent audited financial report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, the joint licensee had net income of $13.9 million, including temporarily restricted assets, on expenses of $14.5 million, making for a loss of $589,418. The loss reduced WQED’s net assets to $10.2 million at the end of the fiscal year.

In fiscal year 2012, WQED reported net income of $15.2 million on $14.5 million in expenses. Its net assets grew by $581,345.

The station is also carrying a revolving loan that matures in 2015 and from which it has borrowed $5.2 million.

From 2012 and 2013, membership and underwriting remained flat while foundation support increased by $800,000. The biggest revenue dip was in government grants and support, which dropped by roughly $1.3 million year-to-year.

“Membership is the lifeblood of a nonprofit organization like WQED, and individual contributions constitute the majority of its funding sources, in addition to generous support from the local foundation and corporate community,” the station said in a prepared statement. “Federal funding to WQED continues to be uncertain, state operating support has been eliminated, as has federal support to upgrade technology.”

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