PB scales down programs after $45,000 concert loss

Program Board members have begun to look for more inexpensive methods of programming this semester, after the organization lost $45,000 on the November Blues Traveler concert it planned, PB Executive Chair Brian Nathanson said.

“We aren’t planning any more large-scale programs right now, but we are looking for alternate ways to program that are cheaper but just as fun,” Nathanson said.

Nathanson and PB International Cultural Affairs Co-Chair Heidi Wicker said GW previously was not considered a major concert venue. PB took a risk by planning the Blues Traveler concert to draw attention to GW, Wicker said.

“We just wanted to work out good working relations in the concert circuit,” Wicker said. “We knew we wouldn’t earn money if we sold every seat.”

Nathanson said he did not expect to make a large profit on the Blues Traveler concert but said he also did not expect PB would lose $45,000 on the event.

“We took a risk and I guess maybe you could say it was a poor risk,” Nathanson said.

Nathanson said PB will not plan large-scale concerts on its own again.

“Based on our experience, we’re looking for other ways to have concerts, either by working with promoters or with other departments in the University,” Nathanson said. “We can’t afford to take such a large hit again.”

But a former PB member, who asked not to be identified, said the PB’s funding shortage should not be attributed only to the loss it suffered on Blues Traveler. The former member said it the $30,000 PB spent on new office equipment at the beginning of this year also could account for the shortfall.

“Other people want students to believe that the financial problem was posed by Blues Traveler, but there are other things that have occurred this year, which have caused PB to have financial problems,” the source said.

Nathanson said PB spent the $30,000 on three new computers, a digital camera and a color printer. He said the money for the equipment came from unused funds from last year’s budget.

Nathanson said despite the loss the group endured on the concert, he is confident PB will continue to provide quality programming, and students will not be affected adversely.

“There will still be activities, and average students will be hard-pressed to notice a difference,” Nathanson said.

Wicker said PB may begin to explore co-sponsorships to provide more programming.

“We’re going to be turning a lot to corporate sponsorships, and we’ll still do a lot of co-sponsorship stuff with student groups,” Wicker said.

But the source said PB funds were spent unwisely.

“Looking at what position they’re in now, it’s really frustrating,” the former PB member said. “They have this new equipment but if you can’t put on events, what good is it?”

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