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Canada's CBC to Slash Jobs After Government Cuts

The Canadian pubcaster is also looking to return commercial advertising to its CBC Radio Two and Espace Musique services to fill a $150 million budget hole.

TORONTO - The Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s push to become more commercially popular continued Wednesday as plans for a return to radio advertising to raise much-needed revenues were unveiled.

The pubcaster is also to cut around 650 jobs over three years as part of a program to save $50 million in annual operating costs.

The controversial moves come as the CBC looks to close a projected $150 million budgetary gap after the federal government last week slashed $115 million from its annual parliamentary appropriation over three years.

That cut of around 10 percent to its current $1.1 billion annual public subsidy means inevitable job cuts that the CBC will look to minimize with a series of cost-cutting measures.

At the same time, Canadians are likely to react harshly to news the CBC will run ads and sponsorship on its English language CBC Radio Two signal and on its Radio-Canada equivalent, Espace Musique.

CBC Radio Two earlier saw its classical music load slashed to make way for a more popular music mix.

"This decision strikes the balance between protecting the core values of CBC Radio as a whole while providing us with a much needed new source of revenue,” Kirstine Stewart, executive VP of English Services, said of the current application before the CRTC to allow ads and sponsorship on CBC Radio Two and Espace Musique.

The CBC cut advertising from its public radio service in 1974.

The pubcaster is not seeking commercial air-time on its CBC Radio One and Premiere Chaine services, but the CBC is rolling out a slew of other cost-cutting measures in the wake of its budgetary chop.

These include raising more digital revenues, squeezing more TV ad revenue from its most popular primetime TV shows, streamlining its news-gathering operations and selling off real estate.

The CBC will also shut down its 620 analogue transmitters across the country from July 31, 2012.