NPR’s sharp downturn in corporate “underwriting” (aka advertising revenue) this year has resulted in discussions about staff and program cuts, reports Paul Farhi.
NPR president Gary Knell says of his radio network’s growing deficit ($2.6 million through March): “NPR has been withdrawing from the bank and we can’t keep doing that. We have to be at break-even or be in a positive position on an annual basis, or I can tell you at some point we’re going to have to turn the lights off.”
Another problem area: The strong audience growth that NPR’s news and entertainment programs experienced over the past decade appears to have flattened, a potentially worrisome development because more stations are carrying NPR’s programs.
Farhi’s sources say there’s talk at the network about dropping “Tell Me More, a show aimed at African Americans and other minorities.
WILL THIS MEAN A PAY FREEZE FOR NPR STARS?
Here are the top-paid NPR on-air people, according to the radio network’s most recent Form 990 [PDF]:
Robert Siegel — $341,992
Renee Montagne — $328,309
Steve Inskeep – $320,950
Scott Simon — $311,958
Michele Norris — $279,909