The Niagara Falls Review

CBC warns of dark clouds ahead

- DANIEL PROUSSALID­IS daniel.proussalid­

OTTAWA — An internal memo to CBC employees warns of “dark clouds on the horizon” for the state broadcaste­r, QMI Agency has learned.

CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix sent the ominous note last Friday.

“On Monday, I informed the board that we are projecting significan­t financial challenges,” Lacroix told staffers.

He warned that a weak advertisin­g market, low TV ratings among 25 to 54-year-olds and the loss of the NHL contract “have combined to create an important revenue shortfall for the whole of CBC/Radio-Canada.”

Despite receiving more than $1 billion from taxpayers, Lacroix says that’s not enough.

“We are working hard to confirm the bottom line,” he said in the memo. “However, it’s clear that tough and more fundamenta­l decisions will have to be made to establish a longer- term, sustainabl­e, financial model for our corporatio­n.”

Friends of Canadian Broadcasti­ng has renewed a call for a larger taxpayer subsidy.

On Tuesday, Friends spokesman Ian Morrison told a Senate committee that the CBC needs an extra $100 million per year over the next four years, in line with an opposition party report from 2008.

Conservati­ve Sen. Don Plett says he’s no fan of government subsidies, but added that elimi- nating the CBC’s subsidy is probably too difficult.

“So, I don’t know what the answer is, and that of course is why we’re having this study — to look at that and other issues,” Plett said.

The Senate Transport and Communicat­ions Committee will continue its study of CBC challenges next week with testimony from former CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenste­in.

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