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Battered CBC not looking for government handouts: Lacroix

TORONTO - CBC brass is denying a report that it's asking the federal government for help, but admits the corporation could soon be in a deficit position.

TORONTO - CBC brass is denying a report that it's asking the federal government for help, but admits the corporation could soon be in a deficit position.

In a press release posted on its website, network president Hubert Lacroix says the CBC expects to break even this year despite the economic downturn and a recent media report suggesting it was seeking government relief.

Lacroix also sent out an internal memo to staff, in which he reveals that the CBC's advertising shortfall could be as high as $65 million this fiscal year - a 17 per cent drop from projections, and a seven per cent drop from last year.

But he says reserve funds and recent cost-cutting measures will alleviate that blow.

Lacroix says "the more pressing issue is our budget for 2009-2010."

He says in the memo that management will have to "take decisive action in the coming months" to cope with the economic crisis while trying to minimize the impact on services, programs and staff.

"The combination of a severe slump in our commercial revenues, coupled with rising costs of production, is a menacing test that will demand some tough choices on our part," Lacroix writes in the memo, distributed Tuesday.

"Tough choices that will affect, in one way or another, jobs, services and programs in our corporation. We are still working away at finalizing plans. Nothing has yet been determined."

Lacroix says the CBC has not been in a year-end deficit position in 10 years.

 
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