WQED’s President and CEO George Miles has taken a 30% pay cut. That’s just one move in a series of cost-cutting measures taken by the company. Mr. Miles had been criticized earlier in the week by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy who said a pay cut should be made so the company could weather the economic climate better. A $734,000 operating loss for the first five months of the fiscal year was announced at the quarterly meeting yesterday.
Miles announced that a lot of viewers and other people have been uninformed about what the company is doing to keep costs down. “Some folks were saying we shouldn’t be asking for additional money because we hadn’t cut our expenses. That’s not true,” said Miles. Last summer’s budget was considered to be a “hunker down” budget which could weather the storm. However, with the continued recession, many cost-cutting moves were taken in December. Aside from Miles’ pay cut, six other top executives took pay cuts averaging 23%, other employees received salary freezes and contributions to retirement plans were also cut.
Add to this the fact that state funding cuts could also be in the works if the proposal by Governor Rendell is approved. That would amount to a $1.1 million loss for WQED and a $7.9 million loss for eight stations statewide. One board member said that if that happened, “WQED could become a very different place – a shadow of itself.”
Nonetheless, WQED Multimedia forecasts ending the fiscal year (September 30) in the black.