VPM in Richmond, Va., eliminated 17 positions last week across its statewide offices.
The downsizing at the public media network represents a reduction of about 15% of its workforce, VPM spokesperson Benae Mosby told Current. Mosby did not respond to questions about which positions were affected.
“Public media is not immune to the financial impact of the pandemic, and we are one of many stations that have had to make these hard choices,” Mosby said.
“These changes allow us to right-size VPM and operate more efficiently while staying focused on our most important priorities, including strengthening our news and digital content,” Mosby said.
VPM, which was previously branded Community Idea Stations, operates public radio and television stations across central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. It also has offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.
In 2017 the public broadcaster sold two Northern Virginia television stations in the FCC spectrum auction for $182 million. Most of the proceeds were transferred to the Virginia Foundation for Public Media, established in 2018 to support public media in Virginia.
VPM retained $3.5 million in proceeds, most of which funded its pension obligations, according to its audited financial report for fiscal year 2019. VPM ended last fiscal year with a deficit of more than $1.5 million, according to its 990 tax statement.