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NPR Announces Plan to Layoff 10% of Staff Following Advertising Revenue Losses

The radio and media organization expects a revenue loss of at least $30 million

NPR will lay off approximately 100 people because of a reported significant loss in advertisers.

In addition to the 10% cut in staff, the organization will also do away with any currently open positions. 

“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,” CEO John Lansing said in a memo sent to staff members. “This will be a major loss.”

The company is expecting a revenue loss between $30 million and $32 million. NPR’s annual budget is $300 million.

The memo did not include information about which jobs will be eliminated. Lansing noted a specific loss of advertising revenue for NPR podcasts but that he is “1000%” committed to podcasting as well as its news outlets Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

“I don’t anticipate that it would be like a haircut across every division, because that’s just not management,” Lansing wrote. “Management is about committing to strategy, making tough decisions.”

Lansing promised the staff that employees of color would not be disproportionately impacted by the layoffs. 

NPR attempted to prevent layoffs in November by cutting approximately $10 million from its budget to make up for a projected $20 million in lost sponsorship revenue. This included eliminating most travel, suspending internships, and an almost complete freeze in hiring. At the time, NPR has 137 vacancies which equated to 11% of its workforce.

“It’s a slowdown in the advertising market, just like with every other media company,” said Lansing at the time.

The newly announced layoffs are expected to take place the week of March 20.

“I recognize that all of this is deeply unsettling, and I know that this introduces an uncomfortable period of uncertainty,” Lansing wrote in the memo. “We will move as swiftly as possible to provide clarity about the reductions needed, working in consultation with our unions.”

NPR is one of several major media organizations that has announced layoffs in the wake of financial struggles.

The Washington Post fired 20 people from its newsroom in late January and announced it would not fill 30 open positions. 

“Newsroom leaders made these decisions after a thoughtful and deliberate review of our current roles and vacant positions,” Sally Buzbee, the publication’s executive editor, wrote in a message to the staff, per Axios. “We prioritized the elimination of vacancies to minimize the impact on employees. We are also eliminating currently filled positions we concluded are not essential to serving our competitive needs.”

Jim Bankoff, the chief executive of Vox Media, announced on Jan. 23 that the company would lay off 7% of its workforce or about 130 people. Bankoff said “the challenging economic environment impacting our business and industry” necessitated the terminations.

“We are experiencing and expect more of the same economic and financial pressures that others in the media and tech industries have encountered,” Bankoff wrote in a memo to staff, per CNN

According to a report from CNET, Facebook’s parent company Meta is preparing to lay off possibly thousands of workers in the coming weeks as it “tries to flatten layers of management.” Meta laid off 11,000 people in November.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that the company’s focus this year is efficiency. 

“We closed last year with some difficult layoffs and restructuring some teams,” he wrote in a Facebook post about its quarterly earnings call. “We’re working on flattening our org structure and removing some layers of middle management to make decisions faster, as well as deploying AI tools to help our engineers be more productive. As part of this, we’re going to be more proactive about cutting projects that aren’t performing or may no longer be as crucial, but my main focus is on increasing the efficiency of how we execute our top priorities.”

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