New England Public Media lays off nearly 20% of staff

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New England Public Radio's headquarters in Springfield, Mass.

New England Public Media, a dual-service organization in western Massachusetts, announced Tuesday that it is laying off approximately 20% of its staff.

The cuts affect 17 full- and part-time employees. Though the layoffs impact staff across the organization, television production workers will be let go, including the team that produces Connecting Point, a weekly public affairs TV show. The job cuts, which take effect at the end of March, do not affect staff in the radio newsroom.

In a statement, NEPM spokesperson Vanessa Cerillo said “serious financial headwinds” that began during the COVID-19 pandemic led to the workforce reduction.

NEPM will continue production of The Fabulous 413, a new radio program that launched last month, and the academic TV quiz show As Schools Match Wits, according to Cerillo. “NEPM is transforming into a more nimble multiplatform media company that centers our audience’s needs both in terms of the content we offer and on the platforms where they want to consume it,” she said.

The layoffs come as revenue downturns begin to impact public media operations. NPR is preparing to announce a workforce reduction in the coming days.

NEPM was formed in 2019 as an umbrella group that operates New England Public Radio and WGBY-TV in Springfield, Mass. GBH Educational Foundation in Boston still holds the license for the television station, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst holds licenses for the radio network’s stations. 

In 2021, NEPM’s leadership announced plans to grow fundraising, boost local content production and renovate a facility to house both the radio and TV operations.

NEPM’s consolidated financial statements for fiscal year 2022 show that the organization’s operating deficit approached $4.7 million, a nearly 22% increase from the previous year. The GBH Educational Foundation transferred $3.4 million to NEPM in FY22, according to the financial statement.

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