Canada's CBC Hires Former PR Exec Heather Conway as Top Programmer

The cost-cutting pubcaster picks a veteran marketing and communications pro to run its TV, radio and online services.

TORONTO – The CBC, Canada's struggling public broadcaster, has picked a veteran public relations and marketing executive as its new chief programmer.

Heather Conway, a former CEO of Edelman Canada and executive vp marketing and communications at former film producer and broadcaster Alliance Atlantis Communications, is expected to be named on Thursday as executive vp English-language services at the CBC, replacing Kirstine Stewart, according to the website.

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She is also a former vp of TD Bank Financial.

Conway will oversee English-language TV, radio and online services at the cost-cutting public broadcaster.

She most recently served as chief business officer at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she was charged with finding new revenue streams.

The CBC's board of directors will be looking to Conway's miracle-working skills to revive the CBC brand in a fast-changing digital landscape.

The public broadcaster has had to cut costs and air more re-runs as it attempts to replace $115 million in government financing cut from the CBC’s budget over three years.

The network also faces the threat of losing its long-standing Hockey Night in Canada property on Saturday nights when the TV contract with the NHL shortly comes up for renewal.

Rival networks like Bell Media and Rogers Media, which both run cable sport channels, are expected to take a run at the Hockey Night in Canada rights.

News of Conway's hire first appeared in the Globe and Mail newspaper.