NPR Cancels 4 Podcasts as Network Begins Mass Layoffs

“We literally are fighting to secure the future of NPR,” CEO John Lansing said

NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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NPR has canceled four podcast and halted production of the shows amid an effort to cuts costs, which includes the layoffs of 10% of its staff.

The workforce cuts revealed last month have begun this week, CEO John Lansing said in an interview with the network.

“We literally are fighting to secure the future of NPR at this very moment by restructuring our cost structure. It’s that important,” Lansing said of a $30 million budget gap. “It’s existential.”

The canceled podcasts include seasonal shows “Invisibilia,” “Louder Than a Riot” and “Rough Translation” as well as a comedy show launched last year called “Everyone & Their Mom” — a spinoff of the popular NPR audio series “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Lansing said last month the network would lay off around 100 employees, or 10% of its current workforce, as well as dissolve any vacant positions, attributing the cuts to a decline in advertising revenue, specifically for NPR podcasts.

“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 a memo to staff. “This will be a major loss.”

The CEO stated that revenues are likely to fall short by $30 million or even closer to $32 million on the annual budget of roughly $300 million.

Lansing said then that NPR remains committed to podcasting as well as the networks news magazines like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.” NPR’s programming division that produces the podcasts has doubled since 2019.

Lansing also said last month he will prioritize growing NPR’s audience to encompass younger and more diverse consumers, which has been a goal since he joined the network in the fall of 2019. He emphasized finding “the future audience to make NPR sustainable for the next 50 years.”

Dessi Gomez contributed to this report.