CEO of National Public Radio (NPR) John Lansing recently announced in a memo that the network will be laying off 10 percent of existing employees and pausing hiring for open positions.
According to NPR, the staffing cuts will fire at least 100 people and remove the vast majority of vacant positions the network is actively hiring for. The cause for such cost cutting actions is an “erosion” of advertising dollars, especially for NPR’s selection of podcasts. Moreover, the general financial outlook for the media industry is bleak given current macroeconomic factors. “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 wrote in his internal memo. “This will be a major loss.”
Lansing says NPR has annual budget of around $300 million and revenues are expected to decline anywhere between $30 and $32 million. “We’re not seeing signs of a recovery in the advertising market,” Lansing stated in an interview. “Nothing is nailed down yet except the principles and what we know we have to reach.” Reporting on the financial outlook for the media industry, NPR wrote:
The layoffs are in keeping with an increasingly grim landscape for media companies over recent months. Vox Media cut jobs by 7%; Gannett and Spotify by 6%. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, eliminated its Sunday magazine and a handful of other jobs. After becoming part of Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN cut hundreds of jobs and killed off its brand-new streaming service, CNN+.
Tech companies that also rely heavily on advertising are undergoing layoffs too. Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft have announced more than 50,000 job cuts combined in just the past few months. Yet the tech and media industries’ prospects stand at odds with a tight labor market and low unemployment more broadly.
It has certainly been a tough year for left-wing news outlets. As mentioned above, CNN has also had massive job cuts in an effort to tame its costs. When current CEO Chris Licht stepped into the company in late 2022, he warned employees at the struggling network by stating:
”I have spent the last six months meeting so many of you and diving deep into every corner of the company to understand how you do the incredible work CNN produces every day, how we’re structured, and defining our top priorities. As many of you know, I have also spent much of that time doing formal business reviews with senior staff to identify areas where we should make changes, investments, and reductions to match our future priorities.”
“…There is a lot more to be done. I am writing to you today to say that over the next several weeks, that work will accelerate. There is widespread concern over the global economic outlook, and we must factor that risk into our long-term planning. All this together will mean noticeable change to this organization. That, by definition, is unsettling. These changes will not be easy because they will affect people, budgets, and projects.”
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