The Greek government announced on Tuesday (June 11) it was shutting down the country's state broadcaster and will instead re-open a more streamlined channel that will cost less.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou made the announcement about ERT TV on the channel, saying the broadcaster was overstaffed with employees that were not necessary, was overspending on production and overtime, and was spending money on programs that no one was watching.

Some 2,656 employees work for ERT, which also has local channels around Greece.

Kedikoglou said that ERT cost the taxpayer some 100 million euros per year. The new channel will cost them less. Taxpayers pay a fund to ERT through their electricity bill.

Thousands of supporters, trade unions, and politicians gathered in protest outside the television station when the news hit. Private Greek television stations stopped broadcasting news for five hours in protest.

The announcement does not come as a complete surprise; the government had been hinting at such a move for months, and ERT employees had been on rolling strikes over wage and job cuts and unpaid wages.

Presented by Adam Justice