International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) represents individuals in engineering, production, donor services, underwriting, traffic, accounting and reception.
Cascade Public Media Statement on Outsourcing the Donor & Audience Relations Team
January 9, 2020
After a period of review and input from IBEW, Cascade Public Media has made a final decision to outsource the Donor and Audience Relations team (DART). For many years, our organization has been working with ACD to provide call center support outside of our business hours. We have now decided to transition to using ACD’s services 24/7.
A lot of thought and care has been given to making this transition because it will directly affect four positions on the DART team.
Two positions will transition into newly created-roles within the development department, and unfortunately, two of the positions will be eliminated. The new structure is expected to be in place by February 10, 2020.
Finally, we want to thank and acknowledge the entire DART team who has been the direct point of contact for taking feedback and offering assistance to the community that we serve.
What does the Donor and Audience Relations team (DART) do?
The DART team is Cascade Public Media’s in-house call center. They offer customer service to our viewers, readers and donors.
Why is Cascade Public Media outsourcing its Donor and Audience Relations team (DART)?
Cascade Public Media has a long-standing relationship with ACD to provide call center support outside of regular business hours. Transitioning to ACD’s services 24/7 to allow for more an efficient use of operational and financial resources.
When will this transition be complete?
We expect to fully transition the team by February 10.
How many positions are affected by this transition?
Outsourcing the DART team will directly affect four positions. Two positions will move to new roles within the development department and two positions will be eliminated. Severance packages will be provided to those leaving.
What can callers expect moving forward?
Because Cascade Public Media has a long standing relationship with ACD, callers should continue to expect the same level of excellent customer service that they are accustomed to.
Are other layoffs anticipated?
No. There is nothing planned at this time.
Statement: Decision to Outsource Master Control
December 10, 2019
After months of careful consideration and input from our partners at IBEW Local 46, Cascade Public Media has made the final decision to move forward with outsourcing our master control functionality to a third party service. We have selected Public Media Management (PMM), a service providing content distribution and master control solutions from Sony and WGBH.
We appreciate that this change directly affects four of our team members’ positions. We are tremendously grateful for the contributions that all of our master control operators have made to our organization by ensuring KCTS 9 is on-air and broadcasting to the community we serve. Severance packages will be provided to affected team members.
The transition is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2020. KCTS 9 viewers should not experience any interruptions to television service during this time.
In today’s media industry, moving to shared support services is common among commercial and nonprofit public media outlets. There are approximately 59 public television stations using third party master control solutions. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), who provides funding to public broadcasting organizations like ours, will provide an additional $150,000 in grant funding to help transition to joint master control operations.
Finally, Cascade Public Media is still engaged in discussions with IBEW regarding our Donor and Audience Relations (DART) team. No timeline has been established, and we will share a final decision once it has been reached.
1. Why is Cascade Public Media outsourcing Master Control?
Outsourcing the master control function has been an industry trend to improve efficiency and upgrade to state-of-the-art technology. It is a recommended ‘best practice’ by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through which grant funding is made available to stations who make the transition.
2. What do master control operators do?
Master Control is the department that ensures KCTS 9’s broadcast signal is on-air.
3. How long will the transition take?
We estimate that the transition will be completed by the end of March 2020.
4. How many positions are affected by this transition?
As a result of this transition four regular team members will be laid off who currently serve in Master Control. One full time position will be retained.
5. How will this change affect KCTS 9 broadcast viewers?
KCTS 9 viewers should not experience any interruptions to television service during this time.
Master Control and Donor and Audience Team Restructure Statement
Sept. 12, 2019
Today, we informed our Master Control Operators and Donor & Audience Relations team members that we are considering outsourcing their responsibilities to third-party providers. We appreciate the gravity that this decision would have on the team members whose jobs would be affected if we proceed. This consideration, or our decision to proceed, should not be interpreted as a reflection on anyone’s capabilities or talents.
In today’s media industry, moving to shared support services is common, particularly among nonprofit public media outlets. Outsourcing this work would allow the organization to focus its resources on its digital technology, brand and audience growth strategies, local journalism and future facility’s requirements.
These positions are represented by IBEW Local 46, with whom we will be meeting over the next couple of months. Our decision to outsource one or both of these functions will be made separately based on the merits of the solutions available. We will be evaluating those alternatives and the subsequent impact on Cascade Public Media and our team members.
1. How many people work in these two areas and what do they do?
There are five regular and two on-call team members who serve in Master Control, the department that ensures KCTS 9’s broadcast signal is on-air. We have four team members who serve on the Donor and Audience Relations Team, our in-house call center.
2. How many positions would be impacted?
It is not clear at this time how many positions would be impacted; we will need to evaluate this further as we talk with IBEW and the various providers. However, based on what we do know, it is unlikely that all positions would be outsourced.
3. Why would Cascade Public Media outsource these teams?
The media environment is changing rapidly and where possible we need to support our digital technology, brand and audience growth, local journalism and our future facility’s requirements.
Specifically, outsourcing the master control function has been an industry trend to improve efficiency and upgrade to state-of-the-art technology. It is a recommended ‘best practice’ by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through which grant funding is made available to stations who make the transition.
4. Who provides Master Control and Call Center Services?
There are a number of joint master control facilities around the country, three of which specifically serve public television stations. Additionally, there are many companies that provide call center services to nonprofit organizations. We are only considering organizations located in the United States.
5. Is Cascade Public Media putting profits over people?
No. We are a nonprofit. Every donor dollar we raise is devoted to the organization’s mission. As the media business continues to evolve, we are considering this option in order to place more of our resources toward the programming and journalism that is at the heart of our mission.
6. Is Cascade Public Media having financial hardships?
No. We do have significant future needs to be sustainable as a local nonprofit media organization. We are considering this option in order to place more of our resources toward the programming and journalism that is at the heart of our mission.
7. If you have the money, why wouldn’t CPM keep these team members?
Technology is evolving and the media landscape is changing. If we make this transition, it will help to focus more of our resources on our most significant challenges.
8. Is anyone else doing this in public media?
Yes, approximately 59 public television stations use third party master control solutions, and the majority of commercial stations use them. In fact, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), who provides funding to public broadcasting organizations like ours, provides additional grant funding to transition to joint master control operations.
Additionally, many nonprofits use third party providers to handle donor and customer service calls. Most public media organizations use an outside vendor during fundraising periods and many are expanding these relationships to handle all donor and viewer calls.
9. When will a final decision be made?
We notified IBEW today of our preliminary thinking. Over the next couple of months, we will further evaluate each of these options and consider possibilities from IBEW. We will make a final decision when we feel we have fully considered the alternatives.
10. How long will the transition take?
If we proceed with either of these options, we expect that both the Master Control and the Donor and Audiences Relations transitions could be accomplished within this fiscal year (June 2020).
11. If you move forward with the restructure, what will happen to the existing staff?
If we proceed to outsource either of these functions, we will discuss the impact of that change with IBEW. The contract between Cascade Public Media and IBEW contains a severance provision for this type of transition.
12. Are you considering other areas of Cascade Public Media for outsourcing?
13. All of the potentially affected positions are represented by IBEW. What is CPM’s stance on unions?
Cascade Public Media remains absolutely supportive of our collective bargaining units and our employees represented by them. We have many employees represented by IBEW and the newly formed newsroom bargaining unit represented by CWA.