NPR moved this week to cut 10 percent of its staff and stop production of a trio of acclaimed seasonal podcasts — Invisibilia, Louder Than a Riot and Rough Translation — as it seeks to close a yawning budget gap that stands in excess of $30 million.
The network also canceled a comedy podcast unveiled just a year ago called Everyone & Their Mom, a spinoff of the mainstay radio program Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.
“We literally are fighting to secure the future of NPR at this very moment by restructuring our cost structure. It’s that important,” NPR chief executive John Lansing said in an interview. “It’s existential.”
Lansing said the network sought to protect its core public service mission of journalism while preserving what he calls its “North Star.” Since joining NPR four years ago, Lansing has pushed to ensure the network has a bigger and broader audience base, rooted in younger and more diverse listeners, readers and consumers who will serve as the next generation of NPR supporters.
Layoffs affect all parts of NPR
The network has not made any specific announcements, choosing instead to let those departing decide how to share the news. Karen Grigsby Bates, a senior correspondent for the Code Switch team who is based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif., revealed on Twitter that she had been among those let go. A number of long-time NPR staffers have chosen to leave. Senior European Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli, who has been with NPR for 41 years, announced her retirement earlier in the month.