The Media Mob has learned that “institutional advancement” has struck again at Thirteen-WNET, New York’s flagship PBS station.
On Thursday, April 24, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Barbara Bantivoglio sent out a bulk email to Thirteen staffers informing them that the channel’s marketing department was being “restructured.”
In other words, more staffers were being laid off.
“It is never easy to make changes like these,” wrote Ms. Bantivoglio.
The purge on Thursday marked the second round of job cuts at the channel since early February when, after a year-long transition period, Neal Shapiro, the former President of NBC News, officially replaced William Baker as C.E.O. of the Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC)–the licensee of Thirteen-WNET and 21-WLIW.
Mr. Shapiro came into the job noting that the “status quo is rather boring,” and promising change. He has wasted little time in shaking things up.
Back in mid-February, as the Observer reported (second item) at the time, Thirteen let go the majority of the staffers in its communications department. It took roughly two-and-a-half months for the restructuring to spread to the marketing department.
“As you all know, these are challenging times for media organizations of all kinds, and Thirteen is among them,” wrote Ms. Bantivoglio in the email. “We have worked diligently to determine how we can stay vital and relevant as the media landscape changes, and as a result we have had to make some very hard decisions.”
UPDATE: Debra Falk, a spokesperson for Thirteen-WNET, sent us the following statement:
“In order to build on what Thirteen has achieved in the past and pursue new opportunities in support of our mission in a changing media environment, we have restructured and reorganized the functions of the Marketing department. Some positions within the former Marketing department have been shifted to other areas of Thirteen and nine positions have been eliminated. Decisions like this are very difficult to make, and we do not take them lightly. We appreciate our colleagues’ service to public television and their contributions at Thirteen. The new structure is necessary to better support Thirteen’s service to the public through the continuing evolution and growth of our programming and initiatives.”