Springfield public media company cuts 20% of its staff
Management at New England Public Media, an NPR and PBS affiliate in Western Mass., announced it is laying off roughly 20% of staff. The cuts were shared with employees during a meeting Tuesday.
The layoffs affect 17 full- and part-time staff members, including the entire team of the weekly magazine-format public affairs television show "Connecting Point."
In a statement, NEPM management said the nonprofit media company has faced "serious financial headwinds during the last three years.”
Financial statements from fiscal years 2021 and 2022 show a deficit that has grown to nearly $4.7 million, a little more than a third of the company's annual operating expenses in 2022.
In the last month, NEPM television and radio staff began a planned move into a renovated facility in downtown Springfield. The move was scheduled to take place last summer but was later delayed.
According to staff present during Tuesday's announcement, NEPM President Matt Abramovitz told employees he has a plan to make the station financially stable within the next four years.
A spokesperson for the union that represents workers in NEPM's news department said just one of its members was affected by the layoffs.
Abramovitz has so far not responded to WBUR's request for comment. In an official statement, NEPM management said the cuts are part of a plan to transform the station into a “more nimble multiplatform media company.”
The layoffs are expected to take effect by the end of this month.
NEPM is the result of a 2019 merger between New England Public Radio and WGBY-TV — a subsidiary of GBH.
NEPM's radio station is part of a group of New England stations — including WBUR and GBH — that collaborate and share some reporting content.
The layoffs come as the national news network NPR prepares to layoff 10% of its workforce this week, or roughly 100 people.
This article was originally published on March 21, 2023.