Community Idea Stations Reduces Workforce due to State Funding Pressures
The Community Idea Stations today announced plans to reduce their workforce by 18% before the end of June. This action is necessary due to the elimination of funding specific to public broadcasting from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Budget. The Community Idea Stations’ share of State funding amounted to just over $700,000 this fiscal year. Beginning July 1 there are no funds for either Community Service Grants or Education Services Contracts.
“While we are counting on and fully expect increased community support, we must find efficiencies wherever possible,” says Curtis Monk, President and CEO of the Community Idea Stations. “We are implementing additional automation in television and streamlining operations throughout the organization. The greatest impact will affect the services we provide to schools and teachers.”
Six of the eleven positions being eliminated are from the Educational Services department. Services the Community Idea Stations will no longer provide include technology training for teachers, engineering support for schools and the EdTech Conference, a statewide technology conference for teachers and administrators.
“We are still committed to education,” explains Monk. “For now, we will focus our efforts on our Ready to Learn literacy program which is funded through community support. This program partners with Smart Beginnings, Communities in Schools, Head Start, First Book and other community organizations committed to early childhood education. “We are also working with PBS and the other Virginia public television stations to increase our online content for K-12 classroom use.”
Changes in programming are being kept to a minimum. The Sunday afternoon film package and “Behind the Scenes,” a web-based program that focuses on arts organizations in town will be eliminated, but little else at this point. Full funding for locally-produced programming will be more important than ever.
In lieu of state funding, the Community Idea Stations will be more dependent upon community support. The Big Idea Challenge, a new peer-to-peer fundraising effort currently taking place is one way the Community Idea Stations hopes to garner new supporters for public television and public radio. Other efforts include increasing the number of members who support the stations and increasing such asset-based earnings as facilities rental, production services and uplink services.
The Community Idea Stations include WCVE Public Radio, WCVE PBS and WCVW PBS in Richmond and WHTJ PBS in Charlottesville.