MusicNL forging on with awards while slowly climbing out of debt

MusicNL faced a dire financial situation in September which left the music trade association almost bankrupt and its interim board searching for answers as to just how it fell into about $200,000 in debt.

At the time, the non-profit organization scaled back operations to avoid folding completely, which would leave behind a void for the local music community. 

On Thursday, MusicNL announced it will be going ahead with its annual awards week, a tradition that was left up in the air given the association's significant debt.

"This is very good, because there was a point in time where we thought we weren't going to be able to do an award show, and MusicNL is all about the members. So, we just didn't think it was fair to the members," Amy House, MusicNL's interim chair told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.  

"We did everything in our power to make it happen."

The awards show for this year will come a little later than usual — slated for three days in January, instead of five days in the fall — and the event have a smaller scale overall.

Paula Gale/CBC

More scaling back continued with staff, as MusicNL has gone from two staff members to one, opting for two provincial government Job Creation Partnerships program members instead of one.

Since the interim board took over in May, House said they have been able to reduce the organization's deficit by about $40,000.  

The plan is to chip away at the debt over three years.

"Next year, we're looking at a reduction in the deficit by about $100,000, just through the bringing back on our staff. The board is working closely with the staff almost every day," House said.

"We'll be looking more closely at corporate sponsorship and that kind of thing. We feel confident within the next three years we're going to have a pretty much balanced budget."

For now, House said, the interim board is working every day to bring the organization back to what it once was. The plan moving forward, she said, is to ease out the the interim board to where MusicNL once again has a full-time board of operators. 

However, House said, before that happens the interim board wants to be sure that they have operations back to status-quo before handing over the reins. 

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