NPR to Cut Workforce
Dennis Haarsager, interim president and chief executive of NPR, sent out a memo today saying the company is canceling two shows, News & Notes and Day to Day, and cutting 7 percent of its workforce. Many of the 64 filled and 21 unfilled jobs that are getting cut are linked to the two programs.
NPR now has a projected fiscal 2009 budget deficit of $23 million, up from the $2 million deficit predicted in July, according to the memo. It has been hurt by a decline in sponsorship. Some of its biggest givers: the financial, automotive and media industries, all of which are facing their own struggles right now.
According to the memo, NPR was authorized to get at as much as $15 million from its operating reserves to deal with its troubles. "We believe, but cannot guarantee, that our budget plan and the one-time infusion of funds from the reserves will allow us to weather economic declines over the rest of FY09 and into FY10," Haarsager said in the memo.
Haarsager ended the memo on a positive note: "NPR is losing revenue, not audience or relevance. To the contrary, our audience has continued to grow in the face of declining journalism investments elsewhere in the nation. We are encountering immediate budget challenges, yet we have just completed a year of near-record audience levels on-air, online, and on mobile platforms."
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