The Pittsburgh public TV outlet will receive $9.9 million from the sale of its spectrum, enough to completely retire its long-term debt with a few million to spare. In exchange for the payout, WQED will move to a lower broadcast frequency, likely in two to three years.
Up to 12 staffers out of 80 reportedly were affected by the layoffs that took place Thursday morning. Longtime WQED Multimedia producers and on-air hosts Michael Bartley and Tonia Caruso were among those let go.
Noncommercial WQED Pittsburgh has spent much of 2014 celebrating its 60-year history, but as winter approaches, there are divergent ideas about its future. In October, the public broadcasting enterprise eliminated four jobs, while reducing work hours for five staffers including Chris Moore, one of its most recognizable personalities. In a statement, WQED spokesman George Hazimanolis said the reductions (from a reported staff of 80) were prompted by declining government support and “a fast-changing media and technological landscape.”
Pittsburgh public television and radio station WQED is laying off some workers, cutting some full-time employees to part time and chopping vacant positions as part of a reorganization starting today,
WQED has come up with an idea that initially might make some public broadcasters cringe: an entire multichannel fully devoted to fundraising. Yes, all pledge shows, running 24/7. That’s exactly what WQED Showcase will be. The Pittsburgh station will debut its fourth channel possibly as soon as November.