National Public Radio is firing 7% of its workforce and cutting expenses. This despite “near-record audience levels” online and on-air, including 26.4 million weekly radio listeners and 8 million monthly Web visitors.
Why? Ballooning budget shortfalls made worse by corporate sponsors pulling funding because of the bad economy.
NPR: In July, NPR projected a relatively manageable $2 million deficit for fiscal year 2009. With the rapid downturn in the U.S. economy this fall, corporate sponsorships – NPR’s second-largest source of funding after fees paid to NPR by stations – have declined and projections have dropped precipitously, raising the projected deficit to $23 million, and prompting the need for significant and immediate reductions in expenses. To help NPR align its budget, the Board of Directors has authorised NPR to draw down its operating reserves by a maximum of 30 per cent in FY09 (10/1/08-9/30/09).
And all that McDonald’s money?
Legal restrictions severely limit expenditure of the NPR endowment, which includes the 2003 bequest made by Joan B. Kroc.
NPR recently hired a new CEO, former New York Times (NYT) digital head Vivian Schiller.