NPR lays off 100 employees as company faces $30 million decline in revenue

The employee layoffs mark one the most significant staff reductions in the company's 53 years of operation.

Joshua Young North Carolina

On Thursday, NPR disclosed that they were stopping production on several podcasts as part of a larger series of cutbacks the nonprofit news organization has been forced to make as they confront a decline in revenue projected at $30 million.

According to the Washington Post, this week "the Washington-based audio and digital-news organization began laying off about 100 employees, or 10 percent of its staff."

The employee layoffs mark one the most significant staff reductions in the company's 53 years of operation.

The company's most popular shows, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, remain in production and will continue to broadcast on public-radio affiliates but their podcast division has been reduced.

The NPR program Invisibilia, which premiered in 2015 and dealt with psychology and the social sciences, at one time topped Apple's podcast charts but has become one of the shows the company has ended production on. 

The foreign news analysis program Rough Translation and hip-hop culture show Louder Than a Riot were also axed along with the comedy show Everyone and Their Mom.

NPR has said they are "stopping production" on the shows, not that they were canceled.

NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara said, "Unfortunately, NPR has had to take painful but necessary steps to address its financial issues. We’ve tried as much as possible to retain industry-leading podcast portfolios and focus on key strategic priorities, daily habits and serving new audiences."

NPR previously froze new hiring and made $20 million in budget cuts in November 2022. 

NPR chief executive John Lansing said in a memo to staff, "Unlike the financial challenges we faced during the worst of the pandemic, we project increasing costs and no sign of a quick revenue rebound. We must make adjustments to what we control, and that is our spending."

Lansing said that if not for the recent cuts the company would have become fiscally insoluble by 2025.

NPR's budget is funded in part by taxpayers and the company claims that amount is 2 percent of their overall revenue. The rest is made up of ads, payments from stations, and donations.

"NPR reported revenue of $309.7 million and an operating surplus of $28.8 million in fiscal 2021, the most recent year figures are available. This was a sharp increase over its pandemic-beset fiscal 2020, when it recorded revenue of $275.4 million and a $13.6 million operating surplus," reports the Washington Post.

Photo: Chris Hardie/Flickr

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