NPR expecting to end FY2015 with $1.5M surplus

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NPR is projecting to end fiscal year 2015 with a $1.5 million surplus following a two-year effort to reach a break-even budget.

NPR CFO Deborah A. Cowan said Thursday at a quarterly board of directors meeting that the organization expected to exceed its goal of breaking even. For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, NPR anticipates $190.6 million in revenue and $186.4 million in expenses.

“All in all, it was a pretty successful year,” Cowan said. “I feel pretty confident that this organization is turning the corner, from a financial standpoint.”

If projections hold, NPR would reach a balanced budget for the first time since fiscal year 2011.

According to Cowan, NPR is forecasting a second break-even year for fiscal year 2016, projecting $195.9 million in revenue.

NPR is anticipating a jump in corporate sponsorships in the upcoming year that would account for 27 percent of its projected revenue. Corporate sponsorships increased from $43.1 million in fiscal year 2014 to $51 million projected for fiscal 2015, and NPR is budgeting for $53.8 million in fiscal year 2016.

The budget also projects that gifts and grants will increase from $31.5 million in fiscal 2015 to $35 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

However, the network expects station dues and fees to drop from $82.6 million in fiscal 2015 to $81.9 million in fiscal 2016. That decline is due in part to WNYC’s decision to distribute Radiolab and On the Media as of Oct. 1, Cowan said.

NPR is budgeting for continued capital improvements at NPR West, $1 million of which will be covered by a single donation.