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Colorado Public Radio announces pay cuts, salary freeze despite successful fund drive

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Colorado Public Radio met its $1.6 million goal at the (blessed) end of its recent Drive to Thrive campaign. But that doesn't mean the organization is done with cutbacks. The network has just issued a press release announcing 3 percent pay reductions for all employees, as well as a year-long salary freeze to go along with the previously announced suspension of retirement-fund matches. Read CPR boss Max Wycisk's reasons for the move below:

Colorado Public Radio press release:

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--June 19, 2009--Max Wycisk, President of Colorado Public Radio (CPR) announced several measures today that are aimed at allowing the statewide public radio network to reduce its budget, while continuing to maintain its current staffing level and deliver high quality programming to its listeners.

"Effective July 1, as we begin our new fiscal year 2010, an across the board three percent reduction in staff salaries is being implemented, together with a 12 month salary freeze," said Wycisk. Previously announced suspension of CPR contributions to its 403 (b) retirement plans will also be continued into the new fiscal year, added Wycisk.

In making the announcement, Wycisk said CPR's just ended fiscal year has been enormously challenging financially and he expects this trend to continue. "Both radio advertising and charitable contributions nationally are down substantially. Commercial radio ad revenue is down 26 percent from a year ago and charitable contributions fell six percent in 2008, the sharpest drop in 53 years," he said.

"We are extremely thankful to those who contributed to CPR's most recent 'Drive to Thrive On- Air Fund Drive', which was a big success and reached a goal of $1.6 million," said Wycisk. He emphasized the successful fund drive allows CPR to end this fiscal year in the black, and added, "More than 90% of Colorado Public Radio's operating funds come from the private support of listeners, businesses and foundations."

In December 2008 and April 2009, National Public Radio announced layoffs and furloughs of staff as part of its belt-tightening measures aimed at helping close a projected $8 million budget gap during its current fiscal year, and $15 million over the next two years.

On the brighter side, Wycisk added, "Our audience continues to grow due to the accurate, straightforward reporting of CPR, our local classical music programming, and National Public Radio (NPR) news programming. The audience for daily news programs including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Colorado Matters reached a record last year." (source: Arbitron) He emphasized, "NPR's listenership has nearly doubled since l999, as newspaper and other mainstream media circulation has continued to steadily decline."

Colorado Public Radio News is heard on: 90.1 FM in Denver, 1490 AM in Boulder, 1230 AM in Pueblo, 89.5 FM in Grand Junction, 88.3 FM in Montrose, 88.3 FM in Craig, and online at cpr.org.

Classical KVOD is heard on: 88.1 FM in Denver, 91.9 FM in Pueblo, 94.7 FM in Colorado Springs, 89.9 FM in Vail, 90.5 FM in Glenwood Springs, 103.3 FM along the Western Slope, and online at cpr.org.

Colorado Public Radio's statewide network reaches more than 85% of the state's population. About 360,000 people listen every week to CPR's full time news and classical music services (source: Arbitron, Spring/Fall 2008).

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