With an uncertain economy and a sharp decline in current and projected revenues from corporate underwriting, National Public Radio officials announced they will be cutting its work force and canceling two nationally broadcast shows produced in Culver City. The moves were announced in spite of the fact the public radio network is reaching "near-record audience levels on-air and online," with 26.4 million people listening to NPR programs each week and 8 million people logging on to NPR.org each month, according to the network. The two shows produced at NPR's Culver City West studio, which are being cancelled effective March 20, 2009, are "Day to Day" and "News & Notes."
The elimination of those shows will mean layoffs for at least 22 people, said Anna Christopher, senior manager for NPR Media Relations.
"Unfortunately, there will also be a number of technical and administrative people working on those shows who will also be getting laid off. I just don't have an exact number at this moment," Christopher said.
The total budget deficit NPR is facing right now is $22 million, Christopher said. That's a $20 million increase over the originally projected budget deficit for fiscal year 2009. Canceling the two Culver City shows will save a total of $4.4 million - $2.8 million on "Day to Day" and $1.6 million on "News & Notes," Christopher said.
Nationwide, NPR will be eliminating 64 positions out of its current staff of 889. NPR will also not be filling 21 open positions. The network is also planning cuts to expenses and travel across the organization. The cancellation of the two shows, which are offered to NPR stations nationwide, means that individual stations will now have to figure out what kind of programming they want to use for that air time.
"Everyone will have to make up their own minds. I expect that some stations will use local programming. But NPR is not going to offer any replacement shows," Christopher said.