A mandate for a balanced budget and a drive to reduce its production commitments spurred NPR to cancel Tell Me More, one of the few remaining broadcast shows outside of its newsmagazines that the network produces itself. NPR will end the production as of Aug. 1 as part of a broader newsroom restructuring announced May 20. Twenty-eight jobs in its newsroom and library will be cut; eight of the positions are currently unfilled. Tell Me More, a weekdaily program featuring host Michel Martin and focusing on news topics related to people of color, now airs on 136 stations.
An updated version of this article was posted May 28. NPR announced today that it will cancel Tell Me More, its weekday midday show with an emphasis on news and issues relating to people of color, effective Aug. 1. The network will also eliminate 28 jobs in its newsroom and library, eight of which are currently unfilled. “Today we are announcing changes in the newsroom to ensure we remain a leader in a dynamic and intensely competitive news environment, while living within NPR’s budget,” said Margaret Low Smith, NPR’s senior v.p. for news, in a memo to staff.
Facing an operating deficit of $2.6 million this fiscal year due to a shortfall in corporate sponsorship income, NPR is stepping up efforts to cover the gap with additional gifts, grants and underwriting. These measures are being taken rather than “cutting deep into NPR,” a spokesperson told Current last week, after the Washington Post reported that the network had considered cutting Tell Me More, the daily newsmagazine aimed at people of color. The Post’s report cited anonymous sources describing internal discussions. NPR President Gary Knell later told media outlets that there were no plans to cancel the show. NPR hit a record high in corporate sponsorship income last year but is now struggling, with a variety of factors contributing to the slowdown in sponsorship revenue.