New York PBS Affiliates Tighten Belts

So goes the commercial market, so goes public broadcasting. Two New York PBS member stations are cutting back by nearly $15 million and reducing the staff by about 14 percent, The New York Timesreports.

WNET-TV and WLIW-TV, Channels 13 and 21 respectively, said this week that they would have to cut their $186 million combined budget due to the effects of the recession. The stations’ most recent pledge drive was down, corporate sponsorships have diminished and the endowment that supports both stations has posted a 25 percent loss in the market freefall. The Educational Broadcasting Corp., parent company of both stations, is also expected a cut to come from the state, which subsidizes the stations to the tune of about $8.7 million a year.

EBC chief Neal Shapiro told the Times that the current programming schedule would not be affected by the cuts, but further development would be delayed.