NPR to Lay Off 10% of Workforce

Citing dropping ad revenue, CEO John Lansing wrote in a memo Wednesday that “this will be a major loss”

NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

NPR’s chief executive announced Wednesday morning that the network will lay off around 100 employees, or 10% of its current workforce, as well as dissolve any vacant positions.

CEO John Lansing attributed the cuts to the 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.”

“We’re not seeing signs of a recovery in the advertising market,” Lansing said in an interview. “Nothing is nailed down yet except the principles and what we know we have to reach.”

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 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.

The CEO didn’t disclose who within NPR would be most affected, but he did say that job cuts would not be evenly distributed.

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

He also ensured that job cuts would not overwhelmingly affect employees of color.

Lansing said 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.”

Final decisions of job eliminations should occur by the week of March 20, according to NPR.