August 19, 2010; Source: Boston Globe | WGBH, a nationally prominent public radio and television broadcaster out of Boston is negotiating with its largest union for cuts in benefits and expansion of job purviews. WGBH, with 170,000 members, produces approximately one-third of the programming for PBS, including the acclaimed Frontline and Nova, so it is an important cog in the national system.
In the past year its endowment has fallen from $64 million to $57 million and it bought a second radio station. Some of the changes the outlet proposes involve having employees “work across media platforms more easily—for instance, editing for radio, TV and the Web.”
According to Donna Halper, a media professor at Leslie University, this expansion of responsibilities across platforms is common in radio and television right now. Jeanne Hopkins, vice president of communications and government relations at WGBH said, “The way the media is changing around us, people are able to do production in a kind of new way that is in some ways, streamlined or simpler . . . Given the way we are set up, we can’t work in those same ways.’’ It will be interesting to watch what happens as this important national resource continues to restructure.—Ruth McCambridge