Boston’s GBH lays off 31 staff due to $7M budget gap

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GBH's headquarters in Boston.

Boston’s GBH laid off 31 people Wednesday as it faces a $7 million budget gap in its core business, according to an all-staff note from CEO Susan Goldberg. 

GBH CEO Susan Goldberg

GBH is also suspending the TV shows Greater Boston, Talking Politics, and Basic Black but plans to “reinvent” them as “digital first programming,” Goldberg said. 

Basic Black started in 1968 as Say Brother and is billed as the longest-running public television program about the interests of people of color, according to GBH’s website. 

“We are proud of the work that went into these shows and their respective histories,” Goldberg said. “… But for now we are stopping production because, as audience behaviors have changed, these shows no longer draw enough viewers to justify the cost of making them for television.”

The job cuts affect 13 departments at GBH and represent 4% of the station’s staff, Goldberg said. GBH plans to provide severance, health insurance subsidies and outplacement consulting to the laid-off employees. 

Goldberg said revenues have flattened as expenses have increased, leading to the $7 million gap this year. 

“All of us have watched as layoffs and other cuts have swept across media outlets from coast-to-coast, many far worse than what we have instituted today,” Goldberg said. “But we are not immune from these trends.”

Public media stations across the country have reduced staff in recent months, from WBUR in Boston to KUOW in Seattle.  

GBH’s Jazz 24/7 digital stream is also “sunsetting” Wednesday because of low listenership, Goldberg said, but GBH Music’s Jazz on 89.7 will be expanded this weekend to overnight weekend hours when the stream currently airs, Goldberg said. 

Some employees took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to reveal they were part of the cuts. “It’s been an amazing honor to work with such talented and respectful journalists this past year,” wrote Xavier Cullen, an associate producer for Greater Boston. “We did some kick-ass journalism in that time, and it’s all thanks to us workers.”

“I’m shocked by this and am going to deeply mourn my 3+ years with GBH News,” wrote Haley Lerner, an associate producer for arts and culture for GBH News.

GBH describes itself on its website as the largest content producer for PBS. 

This post has been updated to include posts on X by employees who were laid off.

Current Editorial Intern Owen Auston-Babcock contributed to this article.

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