WASHINGTON [United States]: In order to close a USD 30 million budget gap, National Public Radio (NPR) laid off 10 per cent of its staff last week and declared that it will stop producing four podcasts: "Invisibilia," "Louder Than a Riot," "Rough Translation," and "Everyone & Their Mom," The New York Times reported.
Producers, hosts, audience researchers, and designers were among the many people who lost their jobs, which affected many departments. After closing positions, limiting unnecessary travel, and stopping internship programmes, NPR first announced the layoff last month. The organisation claimed that these actions only saved USD 14 million.
According to a report published in The New York Times, Isabel Lara, a spokeswoman for NPR, in an email statement said, "Unfortunately, NPR has had to take painful but necessary steps to address a $30 million shortfall in the revenues from corporate sponsorship." She added, "We've tried as much as possible to retain our industry-leading podcast portfolio, including all daily and weekly shows, and focus on key strategic priorities, daily habits and serving new audiences."
A request for comment from NPR's union did not receive a prompt response.
NPR is one of many media companies that have recently made layoffs due to declining advertising revenue and the prospect of a recession. All of the following companies have cut back on staff: The Washington Post, CNN, Vox Media, Bustle Digital Group, and Gannett.
The four podcasts, according to Lara, are not being stopped.
Some of the best work NPR has ever produced is included in these ground-breaking projects, she said. "We are losing some amazing individuals. We are looking into alternative shapes this work could take," she said, adding, "We're not using the word 'cancelling,' as the work may continue in various forms, even though production is ceasing.
Notably, the "Invisibilia" podcast, which explores the unseen influences that control people's behaviour, debuted in January 2015, at the start of the podcast boom. The show swiftly rose to the top of Apple Podcasts, and in only four weeks, more than 10 million people downloaded and played its episodes.
Also, "Everyone & Their Mom," a comic spinoff of NPR's weekend news quiz show "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" would no longer be produced.
After its new season airs this summer, the podcast "Rough Translation," which shares relatable tales from all across the world, will cease production.
"How do you end a show that you've been producing for six years?" The program's host, Gregory Warner, posted something on Twitter. "I'll be attempting to determine that."
The current season of the music podcast "Louder Than a Riot" will be the last one ever. The show explores racism and misogyny united against Black women in hip-hop, as well as how these attitudes are ingrained in popular culture.
The show's Twitter account stated in a post that "Our producers and editor have been laid off, however, NPR would prefer everyone to continue on until June to finish publishing the show." "We are processing what this means for our team over a period of time."
According to Lara, layoffs were planned so as not to disproportionately affect persons of colour and other vulnerable groups.
The "Louder Than a Riot" account previously raised concern about the fact that people of colour and queer people were disproportionately affected by the layoffs.
Nevertheless, the show said on Twitter on Saturday night that it was "making a correction" to its prior statement and that NPR's target audience is unchanged from before the layoffs.
Everyone in this organisation is going through a difficult moment, Lara added. When necessary, we will progress, realign, and reprioritize by collaborating across teams and functions, she said, reported The New York Times.