WTTW’s licensee anticipates break-even year after budget cuts

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CHICAGO — Leaders of Window to the World Communications, licensee of Chicago PBS station WTTW and classical radio station WFMT, said at a board meeting Tuesday that they expect to break even on this year’s budget after eliminating three executive-level jobs in February.

Mark Hoppe, a WWCI board officer and member of the board’s finance committee, said during the meeting that management identified in January “about $700,000 of current shortfall for the rest of the fiscal year.” The organization’s management then cut over $800,000 in expenses from the budget for the fiscal year.

Those cuts included the elimination of three executive positions and a technical writer job, according to a WTTW spokesperson. The broadcaster also saved money by delaying some hirings, Hoppe said. “[W]hile risk remains, management is projecting a break even for fiscal 16,” he said. The organization’s fiscal year ends in June.

“I’m involved in a number of not-for-profit boards. … Historically, it’s been very, very difficult for not-for-profits to cut costs when necessary,” Hoppe said. “My hat’s off to management of WTTW/WFMT, you folks do it. It’s not easy. It’s really, really hard. I think it’s more difficult in this atmosphere than a corporate atmosphere. But you do it, and it was tough.”

WTTW COO and CFO Reese Marcusson told the board that he believes growth opportunities for the organization “are still in major-giving membership and major sponsorship, both corporate and philanthropic, on projects that we own or co-own that expand our audience beyond Chicago.”

In addition, he said the organization will look to grow audience “in and around Chicago in a variety of ways.”

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