NPR Seeks To Cut Staff By 10% As It Faces Operating Deficit

The company is offering staffers a voluntary buyout as part of a new two-year plan to eliminate an operating cash deficit now expected to hit $6.1M next year it said today. NPR hopes to reduce about 10% of its roughly 840 employees as it approaches 2014 with expenses of $183M and operating and investment revenues of $178.1M. The radio programmer tucked the news into an announcement today that directors named their finance committee chair Paul Haaga to be the acting CEO beginning at the end of this month, replacing Gary Knell who’s leaving to run the National Geographic Society. A committee on NPR’s board will continue to look for a permanent CEO. While on the subject: The Washington Post reports that a new tax filing shows NPR paid former CEO Vivian Schiller $532,212 in severance, $99,671 in salary, and a $5,712 bonus for her 26-month stint which ended in early 2011 after two embarrassing events. She was in charge in late 2010 when Juan Williams was fired after he said on Fox News that he felt anxious when he saw travelers on an airplane wearing “Muslim garb.” Then, in early 2011, conservative activist James O’Keefe released a secret recording showing NPR representatives making politically inflammatory comments in what they thought was a meeting with potential donors who said they had links to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Post notes that NPR has had five CEOs since 2006, and Schiller had the longest tenure during that period.

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