Houston Public Media eliminates 8 positions in downsizing spurred by pandemic

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Houston Public Media is the latest public broadcaster to reduce staffing in response to a budget shortfall caused by the pandemic.

Current confirmed Monday that the station will eliminate eight full-time positions in the new fiscal year. Fifteen part-time staff will also be affected.

“Houston Public Media, like many organizations, is addressing budgetary constraints due to the impact of COVID-19, including revenue shortfalls from fundraising,” GM Lisa Shumate told Current in an email. “We’re projecting this impact to continue through fiscal year 21 which begins September 1, 2020.”

Another 15 part-time staffers associated with weekend and evening radio shifts and production “will not be scheduled for the foreseeable future,” Shumate said.

Despite the cuts, Shumate said that the station’s content related to the pandemic will not be affected, including a radio call-in show and television and digital educational resources.

“These efforts were supported with existing resources and will continue,” Shumate said. “Our core service of local news and public affairs will continue unaffected.”

In the last week, KPBS in San Diego, Chicago Public Media, WBUR in Boston and American Public Media have laid off staff. Some have also cut programs.

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