As the U.S. radio industry continues to discuss widespread programming and on-air job losses at the nation’s biggest owner of AM and FM stations, the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has launched a plan designed to reach a $104 million (£80 million) savings target within two years by slashing its BBC News budget.
The result: hundreds of job losses.
In an early afternoon post made to the BBC’s global news website, the London-based organization confirmed that “around 450 jobs” will be eliminated from BBC News.
What does this mean for viewers in the U.K.? “There will be a reduction in the number of films produced by Newsnight, which will lead to post closures on the BBC Two program.”
There will also be job closures at BBC Radio 5 Live, and the World Update program on the BBC World Service.
The latter is utilized by many NPR member stations for top-of-the-hour newscasts and overnight programming, while many PBS stations offer a 30-minute BBC World News simulcast in afternoons or evenings.
BBC News currently employs around 6,000 people, including 1,700 outside the U.K.
BBC News Director Fran Unsworth‘s explanation for the employee roster reduction may lead some to recall how iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman spelled out his company’s job losses earlier this month, also numbering in the hundreds.
“The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us,” Unsworth said. “We need to reshape BBC News for the next five to 10 years in a way which saves substantial amounts of money. We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital.”
This sees a restructuring of the newsroom to adopt a “story-led” model, which the BBC says will see planned stories each rolled out across a greater number of programs and outlets.
The BBC’s largest competitor for news is Comcast, through its ownership of Sky News.
A new audio challenger is on the way, courtesy of The Times, the venerable London-based newspaper.
Times Radio, an ad-free digital station, will go live this year with a daily schedule of news, analysis and commentary.
The station has been described as a rival to BBC Radio 4, the national Talk network. Times Radio will be fronted “by high-profile names from the world of broadcasting, alongside commentators from the two newspaper titles,” The Times says.
Stig Abell, the launch director, said that the network’s “warm, expert” tone would offer an antidote to the polarizing atmosphere of much public debate, found at Global-run LBC 97.3.