WTVP cuts nine jobs as it seeks to reduce budget

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WTVP's headquarters in Peoria, Ill.

WTVP in Peoria, Ill., cut nine jobs Friday, a few days after its board of directors moved to reduce the station’s budget by $1.5 million.

The staff reductions affected “all areas of business operations,” according to a news release. The station’s staff directory now lists 19 employees. A comparison with a July 2 snapshot of the staff list shows that the cuts affected production, communications, marketing, sales and development teams.

“This is not an easy decision. However, it is a necessary step to ensure the long-term sustainability of WTVP PBS and to continue the impact the station has on our community,” said Julie Sanders, interim station manager, in the release. “Each of our team members has played an important role in our success. We are committed to help assist through this transition, each of those affected by this layoff.”

Board leaders announced the 30% budget cut during a meeting last week. The board’s executive committee has assumed day-to-day management of the station following reports of fiscal mismanagement.

The board’s intervention follows the death of Lesley Matuszak, CEO of WTVP since 2019, who was found dead in her home Sept. 28, a day after she resigned from her job. Her obituary and local news accounts did not disclose a cause of death. Lin McLaughlin, the station’s director of finance and human relations.

In a Tuesday news release, WTVP said the board had reviewed financial reports showing a loss of more than $520,000 in fiscal year 2022 and “a reduction in cash from operating activities” of over $740,000. According to minutes from a Sept. 6 special board meeting, WTVP was in danger of running out of money this summer until it liquidated $320,000 worth of investments and accessed $100,000 in credit lines from PNC Bank.

WTVP is working on publicly releasing its audit for fiscal year 2023, performed by CliftonLarsonAllen.

The next full board meeting is Dec. 12. The executive committee will meet Dec. 7, and the development committee will meet Dec. 11.

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