NPR Running in the Red, Considers Cuts

Corporate sponsors decline, endangering Tell Me More show
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2012 12:54 PM CDT
NPR Running in the Red, Considers Cuts
NPR may finish in the red this year.   (Getty Images)

One of NPR's main sources of funding—corporate underwriting—has declined steeply this year, and the organization is considering staff and programming cuts, reports the Washington Post. The daily Tell Me More, aimed at minorities, could be the first to go, insiders tell the newspaper. The nonprofit NPR has run deficits three of the last four years and used its endowment to cover expenses, says CEO Gary Knell. This year looks even worse.

“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," says Knell. The pinch comes amid the annual push by conservative lawmakers to cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As the Post explains, NPR itself doesn't get much of that money directly, but it makes up about 15% of the budget for affiliate stations, which must pay NPR dues. The money trouble also comes after last year's video sting by James O'Keefe that cost the previous CEO her job. (More NPR stories.)

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