NPR announced today that it will lay off 10% of its workforce – at least 100 people – and eliminate most vacant positions due to the erosion of advertising dollars, particularly for NPR podcasts, and the tough financial outlook for the media industry more generally.
In a memo to staff, CEO John Lansing wrote, “When we say we are eliminating filled positions, we are talking about our colleagues – people whose skills, spirit and talents help make NPR what it is today. This will be a major loss.”
We anticipate rising expenses with no evidence of a fast income resurgence, as opposed to the economic issues we experienced at the peak of the pandemic,” Lansing stated. We need to alter our expenses, as that is something we are able to manage.
“At a time when we are doing some of our most ambitious and essential work, the global economy remains uncertain. As a result, the ad industry has weakened and we are grappling with a sharp decline in our revenues from corporate sponsors,” he said.
With approximately 65% of its budget supporting personnel costs, NPR will need to reduce filled positions by 10%. Lansing said he hopes to have the final decisions on job cuts by the week of March 20.
Last year, NPR declared a hiring freeze as part of a plan to reduce costs due to the $20 million decline in sponsorship income. But for fiscal year 2023, that shortfall is now projected to be at least $30 million.
Lansing said NPR’s executive committee is figuring out where it needs to continue investing, and where it should pull back. “Guided by our strategic priorities, we must support NPR’s mission and future with the resources we have,” he wrote.
No alterations to NPR's output are anticipated in the near future. The syndication program is anticipated to keep producing and disseminating programs such as “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” “Weekend Edition” and the daily podcast “Up First.” Lansing also said he remains committed to podcasting “1000 percent.”
Across the news industry, layoffs have been rampant, with companies such as CNN, NBC News, MSNBC, Vox Media, Gannett and others having cut their workforces in recent months.
0. “NPR to cut 10% of workforce due to projected revenue drop” New York Daily News, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-npr-cuts-jobs-layoffs-national-public-radio-20230222-p3ehdfcnqfbbjabqcutsb4bjfq-story.html
1. “NPR to cut jobs by 10 percent” AOL, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.aol.com/news/npr-cut-jobs-10-percent-190543855.html
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6. “NPR to Cut Workforce by 10 Percent, as Advertising Slowdown Hits Public Media” Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/digital/npr-layoffs-10-percent-job-cuts-john-lansing-1235331693/
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