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Citing Advertising Erosion, NPR To Cut 10% Of Workforce.

NPR staffers will be sitting on pins and needles for the next month now that the public broadcaster has announced it will shed about 10% of its workforce. The network says it hasn’t decided who will be shown the door but it will make final decisions by the week of March 20. At least 100 people will be impacted. In addition, NPR plans to eliminate most vacant positions.

The workforce reduction is not expected to occur evenly across the organization. “I don't anticipate that it would be like a haircut across every division because that's just not management," NPR CEO John Lansing said in an interview. "Management is about committing to strategy, making tough decisions."

Lansing also pledged to ensure the cuts don’t disproportionately effect employees of color.

In a Wednesday memo to staff, Lansing cited as the culprit advertising pullbacks, especially for podcasts, along with a rough financial forecast for the media business in general.

"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," Lansing said in the memo, as reported by NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik. "This will be a major loss."

NPR’s annual budget of $300 million is expected to come up short by $30 million to $32 million. "We're not seeing signs of a recovery in the advertising market," Lansing said. "Nothing is nailed down yet except the principles and what we know we have to reach."

While podcasting is one area where NPR is seeing advertisers trim their budgets, Lansing said the pubcaster remains “1,000 percent” committed to the medium, along with benchmark programs such as “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

To carve out a position in the podcasting space, NPR’s programming division has more than doubled since 2019, according to the report.

The planned cutbacks come on the heels of NPR announcing late last year the cancellation of its summer 2023 internship program, amid $10 million in budget cuts, close to 3% of NPR’s annual budget. Those cuts were linked to an anticipated $20 million decline in corporate sponsorship revenue. The latest financial challenge for NPR followed November 2022’s announced hiring freeze, along with cuts to discretionary spending.

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