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NPR to shed 7% of staff as funding falls

Associated Press / December 11, 2008
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PHILADELPHIA - National Public Radio said yesterday it is laying off 7 percent of its staff, the first downsizing in 12 years, after experiencing sharp declines in funding, especially from corporate sponsors.

NPR said the layoffs affect 64 full-time staff, of which half comes from news and programming. The rest are in station services, engineering, information technology, communications, research, digital media, and administration. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Twenty-two of the job cuts will come from the cancellation of two shows, "Day to Day" and "News and Notes," which have not received the audience traction, station carriage, and corporate sponsorship that could make the shows self-sustaining.

"This is happening in response to the current economic downturn," said Mitch Praver, chief operating officer of NPR, in an interview with the Associated Press.

He said NPR is projecting a $23 million shortfall for fiscal 2009 - an 8 percent decline - to $145 million.

Employees were told yesterday about the layoffs, most of which will take effect in January.

Staff for the canceled shows will leave in March, once the shows are off the air. The shows' staff is in Los Angeles. Most of the rest of the affected employees will come from NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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