National Public Radio to cut 64 jobs to bridge 23 m dollar shortfall

December 13th, 2008 - 12:45 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec.13 (ANI): Feeling the heat of worldwide sluggish economy, the Washington based National Public Radio (NPR) has decided to sack sixty four of its employees and discontinue two of its shows, more than 25 years after it began operations.
An NPR statement said that it would lay off seven percent of its workforce and eliminate two daily programs produced from its Culver City, California, facilities.
The shows are “Day to Day,” which was aimed at younger listeners, and the newsmaker-interview program “News and Notes.
The cutback of 64 of NPR’’s 889 employees is designed to close a 23 million-dollar shortfall in the operation’’s current fiscal year, said Dennis Haarsager, NPR’’s interim President and Chief Executive.
The cuts will have its effect on all departments, including reporters, producers, researchers and digital media employees. About half of the 64 people whose job have been terminated, are journalists. Some of those losing their jobs are veteran NPR voices, such as Ketzel Levine, an NPR reporter since 1977, and Vicky O”Hara, an editor and former diplomatic correspondent with 26 years on the job. Others include “News & Notes” host Farai Chideya, “Day to Day” host Madeleine Brand, Washington reporter Libby Lewis, entertainment-industry correspondent Kim Masters and national reporter John McChesney.
Anyone who’’s processing what’’s going on this planet right now has no reason to be surprised by this,” said Levine, who herself lost the job.
Levine said she knew things were changing when she sought to travel to report a story, but was told such funds were being frozen.
“I love NPR and this really won”t change anything, but I wish I hadn”t given 1,000-dollars to my local public radio station [in its last pledge drive]. I could really use that money now,” she said.
NPR however, had escaped the shrinking economy, last fiscal year finishing on budget, with operating revenues of about $158 million.
Its programs, especially “Morning Edition” and the daily “All Things Considered,” have remained popular, reaching some 26 million listeners per week.
Executives of the company were projecting revenue growth in the new fiscal year, and were considering expanding the nonprofit organization’’s staff but the plan has hit a roadblock. And this is not all, theres more bad news to come for the station as all four of NPRs major funding sources have taken hits in the past few months, leading the organization to revise its financial projections downward. It projects revenue this year to fall to 145 million dollars, an 8 percent decline. NPR relies on corporate underwriting, membership fees from more than 800 public radio stations, donations from foundations and income from an internal endowment funded primarily by a $230 million bequest made by the late Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald’’s mogul Ray Kroc, in 2003. (ANI)

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