NPR Announces Cutbacks

https://www.theblot.com/npr-announces-cutbacks-775261

NPR ANNOUNCES CUTBACKS

NPR is cutting back

Garrison Keillor rides passed you astride a black horse. In his right hand, he carries a flaming battle ax. A black cape flaps behind him as he thunders by yelling, “That’s all the news from Lake Wobegon.”

Having turned on their leader, somewhere in the distance the producers of This American Life feast upon the entrails of a disemboweled Ira Glass.

Teri Gross looks upon this charred hell scape, once a bastion for even-toned, intellectual discourse about cultural events and news of the day. Silently she weeps.

Welcome to the National Public Radio Apocalypse.

Try not to chortle at the thought. After all, people’s livelihoods are at stake.

NPR recently announced plans to cut 10 percent of its existing workforce, by offering buyouts to a select group of staffers. If the proposed buyout is unsuccessful in persuading some members of the staff to leave, NPR has said that more drastic measures will take place.

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News of the impending reduction in staff came via email. NPR Chief Executive Gary E. Knell said the move was to make up for more than $3 million in deficit this year and a projected $6.1 million deficit expected in 2014.

While National Public Radio may spring to mind the stuff of elementary school bake sales and small-town librarians, the media juggernaut continues to dominate radio airwaves in the United States. At last count, only 8 percent of US citizens live in an area incapable of breach by an NPR broadcast signal.

$3 to $6 million seems like an incredibly paltry sum considering several pundits have said JPMorgan’s $900 million fine, levied for trying to cover up $5 billion in bad investments, was not a large enough penalty.

NPR presently employs about 840 staffers and part-timers. The most recent downsizing for the organization came in 2008 when more than 8 percent of staffers lost their jobs. Since that time, NPR had been on a bit of a hiring spree in an effort to beef up its web presence.

As a media organization, NPR hopes to streamline, cutting needless expenses and making significant investment in the digital space. Rumors of a possible shake up first came down last month when news broke that NPR’s chief executive would be jumping ship, to serve as the head of the National Geographic Society. In his place, Paul G. Haaga, Jr., a member of NPR’s board since 2011, will serve in the interim.

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Knell said in a statement, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music and cultural programming on an interim basis, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.”

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