Yore departs Marketplace as APM pares executive ranks

J.J. Yore, a veteran producer credited as a creator of the public radio show Marketplace, was one of three senior executives riffed June 17 from American Public Media, the Minnesota-based company that produces the series. Yore, who rose up through the production ranks to become v.p. and g.m. of the weeknightly business and economics show two years ago, will be succeeded by Deborah Clark, executive producer who steps up into the role of v.p.

APM also eliminated positions of Mary Pat Ladner, v.p. of marketing, and Kathy Golbuff, v.p. of underwriting. An APM spokesperson described the restructuring as a move to eliminate layers of management and organize the company around an “Audiences First” strategy. Clark has worked for Marketplace over two stints since 1995, and APM expects her to move the show forward “business as usual,” Mardi Larson, spokesperson, wrote in an email confirming the layoffs. “We thank J.J. for his valuable and lasting contributions to our company’s mission and audience service, and we wish him well in his next career opportunity.” Yore’s departure is the third set of job cuts to hit Marketplace’s staff since last July.

Michael Sullivan, Frontline producer since 1987, departs icon investigative series

Michael Sullivan, a television producer whose name has run near the top of credit rolls of Frontline almost continuously since 1987, has exited the PBS investigative documentary series. His position as executive producer for special projects has been phased out due to a funding shortfall that the series’ top executives describe as temporary. The veteran producer oversaw high-profile titles produced by filmmaker David Sutherland, including The Farmer’s Wife, the 1998 epic documentary series chronicling the struggles of a Nebraska farming family, and Country Boys, the 2006 series following two teenagers growing up in West Virginia. Sullivan also spearheaded work on Sutherland’s latest film, Kind Hearted Woman, to be  co-presented on PBS by Frontline and Independent Lens April 1 and 2. His exit “is certainly a loss,” Frontline Deputy Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath told Current.

Marketplace bureau chief riffed in APM downsizing

Ten employees of American Public Media will lose their jobs in a strategic reorganization announced this afternoon, according to an internal memo provided to Current. Layoffs extend across the Minnesota-based pubcaster and into its news operation in Washington, D.C., where Marketplace Bureau Chief John Dimsdale received a pink slip. In more than 20 years with APM, Dimsdale has covered regulatory hearings, budget battles and presidential elections “with reliability and great credibility,” according to the memo, which was co-authored by four of APM’s top managers. APM also released employees who work behind the scenes on Marketplace Tech Report, local broadcasts of Morning Edition, and the classical music series Pipedreams, which will continue broadcasting but on a “less-demanding” production timetable. Host Michael Barone remains on the show and will take on a “more visible regional role with Minnesota audiences.”

Fiscal year-end layoffs include 10% of PBS staff

Swamped by the recession tsunami as they prepared for the new fiscal year, public broadcasters at PBS headquarters; WQLN in Erie, Pa.; two Wisconsin stations and Colorado Public Radio cut budgets to keep their noses above the red ink.Falling by the wayside are established services, including the weeknightly newscast for Delaware viewers broadcast for 46 years by Philadelphia-based WHYY-TV and the local reports on the radio reading service for the blind operated for 16 years by WMFE-FM in Orlando, Fla.Troubled stations typically reported revenues that were down across the board, in underwriting, corporate donations, membership and state government support. With no higher ground for refuge, PBS officials told staffers June 11 that 45 positions, including some vacancies, would be eliminated. That’s about 10 percent of the network’s staff. PBS is struggling to close a $3.4 million deficit anticipated for fiscal year 2010. Spokeswoman Jan McNamara said the job cuts and other measures already adopted will eliminate about half of that shortfall.