Andalusia broadcaster wipes out second channel

Station chief says economic situation is taking its toll

The Andalusian regional broadcaster RTVA has decided to pull the plug on independent programming by its second television channel Canal Sur 2 from October because of a lack of money. Canal Sur 2 will now broadcast the same content as RTVA's main channel, Canal Sur, general manager Pablo Carrasco told the Andalusian parliament.

"The decision has been made for a simple reason: we can't afford the production costs of two channels," Carrasco said, adding that RTVA had built up losses of 36 million euros as of the end of July.

Carrasco said Canal Sur will absorb the Canal Sur 2 workforce. RTVA currently has a total workforce of 1,587. Contracts for programs by external producers will be canceled.

Carrasco said the cutbacks would save RTVA 20 million euros through to the end of 2013. However, he said those savings would not be enough to restore the broadcaster's finances.

The Andalusian government has cut annual subsidies it provides to RTVA from 188.9 million euros in 2008 to 122 million this year. Carrasco said the crisis has also hit RTVA's advertising revenues, which have come in below budget. "The situation is very difficult: either we increase revenues, cut jobs or cut output, and we have opted for the latter."

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