NPR announced Tuesday that it would cease broadcast of the weekday program Tell Me More on Aug. 1 and eliminate 28 positions as part of a larger effort to end the company’s persistent budget deficits. … The earlier buyouts led to the departure of dozens of people throughout the company. Eight of the 28 positions being eliminated are already vacant, Senior Vice President for News Margaret Low Smith told staffers.
Ultimately, NPR’s total head count will be 7 percent lower than where it stood last year — there will be 9 percent fewer newsgathering positions. NPR has run deficits in all but one of the past six fiscal years, including the one ending Sept. 30.
NPR’s finances are fascinating and complex, and if you’re interested there is lots of read on the subject. More relevant to the specific news of today, though, is that programs specifically targeted for minorities are suffering: “Tell Me More‘s demise is the third for programs expressly designed to have a primary appeal for African-American listeners and other people of color.” Are those shows markedly less profitable and popular, or does radio function like horror movies and kill off the black characters first?