Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Ruby Hill" Comments on CPRB.

Ruby Hill comments on Colorado Public Radio Blog, and Jimmy James responds in the comments section. Thanks, Ruby!
Ruby Hill said...

If you're really interested in comparing and contrasting the budgets and compensation for 501(c)3 organizations like public radio stations, a very useful resource is Guidestar.Org. They allow you to access the IRS 990 forms that all non-profits must file each year.

Also included on the 990 Forms are the salaries and benefits for at least the top five individuals earning more than $50,000. The IRS doesn't care if you're paying your staff less than that.

Here's some of the salary info Ruby gleaned from GuideStar this evening:

In the case of KUVO, there was only one person on the station's payroll that earned more than $50,000 in 2005. By sharp contrast, the other public radio broadcaster in Denver, Colorado Public Radio (CPR), had 17 individuals earning that much or more in 2006. The top six accounted for over $750,000 in salary and benefits. If one includes the classical music announcers heard via the Classical Public Radio Network (based in Denver and in LA, and heard in other markets nationwide), the number of individuals earning more than $50,000 jumps to 24 [total], and the salary and benefit number jumps to $1,250,000.

Ruby looked at the [Form] 990s for some other public broadcasters too. In no case did Ruby find the disparity in salaries and benefits as dramatic as those between KUVO and CPR. WGBH's [Boston, MA] salaries were somewhat higher than CPR's, but not significantly so. Those that were listed [higher], were primarily for the TV station. Any of those salaries would be totally defensible given that they are paid to producers of some of the best programs that PBS has to offer. Like NOVA, This Old House, etc. KCRW's [Santa Monica, CA] salaries were either the same or lower than CPR's which Ruby found surprising, given the number of programs that KCRW produces in-house. Minnesota Public Radio's salaries were on par with or perhaps slightly higher than what CPR paid, but once again, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) produces far more original content than does CPR. Other than a daily interview show, CPR produces no original content. Ruby believes the Classical Public Radio Network final production work still takes place at Boise State Radio and not in Denver, unless things have changed.

Ruby think it's fair to say from these examples that by and large, public broadcasters are relatively cost conscious and extract as much value as possible from each and every dollar they have at their disposal. Some of the salaries are far too low, considering the demands and responsibilities the jobs require. Others, while less than what might be available in the commercial sector, are at least livable. It's only when one enters the realm of Colorado Public Radio do the salaries get out of whack.

--Ruby Hill

July 29, 2007 1:13 AM


Jimmy James Jr. said...

Here is a breakdown of Colorado Public Radio Management.

51 Total Employees:
1 President
7 Vice Presidents
5 Directors
6 Managers
1 Executive Producer
1 Managing Editor
21 Total Managers.

Thus, "Management" equals 41% of total staff. That seems an astounding ratio to me! What do you think?


Anonymous said...

41% Management. Wow! I thought I had worked for some bloated organizations before but nothing on this scale. Perhaps CPR could benefit from some professional consultants that specialize in streamlining, reorganization, or downsizing. No way I'm giving money to an organization with that kind of management to worker-bee ratio. If this were a private enterprise there is no way this disparity would be allowed to continue. For a public radio station that produces little or no worthwhile local programming, this is shameful.

Frances Koncilja said...

Ruby Hill, thanks for taking the time to put this together. The comparisons were helpful. With highpriced management such as this, how much original content would your expect from CPR? Can you find out what comparable sized staffs produce at other stations?

Jimmy James Jr. said...


Thanks for your post. My guess (from some of the titles of these positions) is that some "Managers" are not actually personnel managers or administrative managers; rather, technical managers (over-titled technicians). Nonetheless, they are identified as "managers" by CPR. So, I call them as I see them. Still, remove those members who do not actually "manage" people or budgets, and my guess is that the ratio is still very high. I mean, just look at the ratio of Company Officers (The President and 7 Vice Presidents) to total staff. That is 15.7%!

Here is a link to the CPR Staff Directory.



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