Northern California Public Broadcasting is an ace at strategic financial forecasting. But that wasn’t always the case. CFO Jeff Nemy explains how, as the economy sunk into the red, NCPB created a blue-chip financial system. Walking through the San Francisco office of Northern California Public Broadcasting, you immediately notice the calm, restrained atmosphere that permeates the building.
There’s the hum of computers, TV, and radio equipment, and a bit of soft conversation emanating from cubicles, but otherwise it’s strikingly quiet. From this placid workspace, you’d never know that NCPB is a bustling operation, the most-watched and most-listened-to public broadcaster in the U.S.
It owns and operates three TV stations and two radio stations and produces popular shows, such as Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Adventure. You’d also never know that this nonprofit organization, with its U.S.$60 million budget and walls lined with acrylic plaques inscribed with donor names, was once in a financial quandary. But CFO Jeff Nemy admits that it was, just three years ago. When he joined NCPB in 2006 and realized the state of its financial systems, he says he almost walked back out the door.
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