National Public Radio (NPR) announced Wednesday the network plans to cut the majority of vacant positions and slash around 10% of its current staff — approximately 100 employees — amid a “sharp decline” in advertisement revenues.
In a memo distributed to NPR staff on Wednesday, CEO John Lansing broke the news nearly three months after pledging the nonprofit media organization would attempt to avoid layoffs as the network said it would lose approximately $10 million from the current fiscal year budget.
“Our financial outlook has darkened considerably over recent weeks,” Lansing wrote in the memo published by The Hollywood Reporter. “At a time when we are doing some of our most ambitious and essential work, the global economy remains uncertain. As a result, the ad industry has weakened and we are grappling with a sharp decline in our revenues from corporate sponsors.”
According to the outlet, the company employs over 700 individuals, with about 490 people filling the newsroom and 230 staff members in the programming division.
“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 the memo. “This will be a major loss.”‘
Lansing told NPR staffers that officials had created a plan to address a $20 million sponsorship revenue fall-off for the current fiscal year, but new projections show at least a $30 million shortfall.
“The cuts we have already made to our budget will not be enough,” he said, adding that officials don’t see signs of recovery in the ad space market.
“Nothing is nailed down yet except the principles and what we know we have to reach,” he said.
It is unknown which NPR employees could face unemployment at this point. Still, Lansing noted that the job cuts would not fall evenly across the board, vowing to ensure “employees of color” would not be disproportionately affected, NPR reported.
“I don’t anticipate that it would be like a haircut across every division, because that’s just not management,” Lansing says. “Management is about committing to strategy, making tough decisions.”
The network reported officials would make final decisions on which employees would be laid off toward the end of March.
Multiple media companies have been announcing layoffs over the past few months.
Last month, Vox announced layoffs that will impact 7% of employees as other companies in the sector implement similar measures. Meanwhile, Gannett and Spotify cut about 6% of their workforce, and CNN axed its streaming service CNN+ and dismissed hundreds of employees in December after joining the Warner Discovery family.
Layoffs at prominent legacy media outlets also come as companies in the technology sector dismiss thousands of employees. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon revealed their intentions to reduce headcount by a combined 40,000 workers over the past few weeks.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this report.