ORF board calls for balanced budget by 2010

Austrian pubcaster to cut up to $27 mil from books

COLOGNE, Germany -- Austrian pubcaster ORF faces major cuts to programming and staff after ORF's board called on general director Alexander Wrabetz to balance his budget by 2010.

Last year, ORF lost €80 million ($107.5 million) as the economic downturn -- and increased cross-border competition from German broadcasters -- cut into the channel's revenue.

Wrabetz already has announced major cutbacks but to meet the board's call for a balanced budget, says he will need to chop another €10 million-€20 million ($13.4 million-$26.8 million) from ORF's books. Selling real estate, dissolving the channel's standing orchestra and cutting back on expensive sports rights are just some of the options on the table.

Wrabetz has until the end of April to come up with a new budget to meet the board's demands.
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