CBC cutting as many as 800 jobs

Broadcaster needs $171 mil to balance budget

TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. will cut up to 800 jobs to deal with a growing budget shortfall, the pubcaster said Wednesday.

CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix told employees during a closed-circuit internal meeting that the public network must cut costs to fight a growing advertising downturn.

"I wish I could be standing here in better circumstances," Lacroix told CBC employees. "But these are tough times ... and we need $171 million ($139.5 million) to balance our budget, which will mean 800 positions."

Beginning in May, the CBC will look to cut 393 jobs at its English-language TV, radio and new media divisions, another 336 jobs at its French-language counterparts, and 70 corporate posts.

Lacroix also said the CBC will raise CAN$125 million ($102 million) through unspecified asset sales. And the broadcaster will freeze top executive salaries and halve bonus payouts.

The CBC will not introduce first-time radio advertising to help balance its budget.

The public broadcaster, like private Canadian networks, has struggled to deal with a growing advertising downturn, which has prompted widespread programming and job cuts industrywide.