San Francisco, March 25 (IANS) National Public Radio (NPR), a Washington-based nonprofit media organisation, has begun to sack 10 per cent of its staff, or about 100 employees, and stopped production of four acclaimed seasonal podcasts, as it struggles with financial woes.
“We literally are fighting to secure the future of NPR at this very moment by restructuring our cost structure. It’s that important. It’s existential,” said NPR chief executive John Lansing.
Most affected NPR employees will stay on until April 28.
NPR aims to cut back its workforce from approximately 1,200 to about 1,050 employees.
Last month, the global media outlet announced plans to lay off about 10 per cent of its current workforce, as its financial outlook has “darkened considerably over recent weeks.”
According to NPR, its financial woes can be traced mainly to advertisers’ growing reluctance to spend money, particularly on podcasting, in an uncertain economy”.
Other media outlets, including Gannett, CNN and Vox Media, and tech powerhouses such as Amazon, Google and Meta also have had layoffs in recent months.
Several veteran NPR staffers like Karen Grigsby Bates and Sylvia Poggioli announced her retirement on social media.
The layoffs also affected people who work behind the scenes to produce the shows and podcasts, design visual elements for the web, and conduct audience research.
According to Lansing, NPR structured the layoffs in such a way that its workforce demographics remain unchanged and “42 per cent of remaining employees are people of colour and 58 per cent are women”.
NPR last year froze most vacant positions and reduced travel.
“We’ve tried very hard to sustain the essential things that will keep us moving forward,” Anya Grundmann, NPR’s senior vice president of programming and audience development, was quoted as saying.
The nonprofit network’s layoffs represent its largest reduction in staff since the 2008 recession.
It serves as a national syndicator to a network of over 1,000 public radio stations in the US.