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December 18, 2008 | last updated December 6, 2011 10:32 am

MPBN cuts staff, shutters radio stations

Maine Public Broadcasting Corp. will issue pink slips and close television and radio stations in Aroostook and Washington counties to meet its budget in the wake of diminishing resources.

MPBN President Jim Dowe today said the Lewiston-based corporation will cut six positions; reduce staff wages by five to 20% through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2009; temporarily suspend the company's contributions to employees' retirement plans and shut down one of its five television stations, WMED-DTV Channel 13 in Calais, and two of its seven radio stations, WMEF-FM 106.5 in Fort Kent and WMED-FM 89.7 in Calais, according to a press release from the company. Dowe said the measures were necessary given a reduction in state funding and the loss of various federal grants.

Since 1992, when the Maine Legislature created MPBN, the company's operating expenses have increased 50%, while its state appropriation has decreased by eight percent, according to CFO John Isacke. The nonprofit corporation last year reported total expenses of $12 million and total revenue of $11 million, according to its 2007 tax filing.

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