APM, MPR initiate staff reductions by offering voluntary buyouts, furloughs

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More than two dozen staffers at American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio have accepted voluntary buyouts and furloughs as the organization responds to a budget shortfall brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fourteen staffers agreed to voluntary separation, Angie Andresen, APM spokesperson, said in an email.

“We are currently facing the biggest financial test we’ve ever faced,” Andresen said. “As we evaluate a wide range of changes to cut expenses, we’re taking great care with any changes to our programming and with decisions that affect the lives and livelihoods of our dedicated employees.”

Local news site Bring Me The News first reported on the extent of the buyouts.

APM and MPR cut executive pay last month in the first round of budget reductions. Its leaders expect big losses in underwriting revenues and have projected significant budget deficits extending into next fiscal year.

The voluntary separations will take effect later this month through early June, Andresen said.

A voluntary furlough program drew about the same number of applications by staff, Andresen said. “Plans for how these furloughs will be implemented are being discussed with each person who applied,” she added.

Laura McCallum, interim director of MPR News, confirmed on Twitter Monday that she is one of the employees who agreed to voluntary separation after nearly 27 years with the organization.

Kate Moos, an executive producer, confirmed to Current that she also agreed to a voluntary separation from the organization. She will join Sahan Journal in a part-time role as a managing director.

“To say we’re grateful to these colleagues for all they’ve done for MPR and their commitment to our ongoing public service is an understatement,” Andresen said. “It’s always difficult to say goodbye to colleagues, and especially so when we can’t do it in person. We will miss each one of these talented people.”

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