Minnesota Public Radio and its parent company, St. Paul-based American Public Media, announced a brutal wave of jobs cuts on Tuesday.
APM and MPR are laying off 28 staff members, CEO Jon McTaggart said in a statement, and axing two programs — Chris Thile's variety show Live From Here and John Moe's podcast Hilarious World of Depression. "Revenue sources have dramatically and simultaneously declined" due to the "large and unexpected financial challenge" inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in today's layoffs, McTaggart says. He cites sharp declines in corporate underwriting and sponsorships, among other diminishing cash flows.
In addition to hemorrhaging jobs, APM/MPR will trim its generous executive pay — which you can view here — by 20-35 percent, implement furloughs, reduce hours, halt raises, and merge some departments, McTaggart announced. "In making these changes, we are focusing our resources on the programming and services you value most," he added.
Last month, 14 APM/MPR staffers accepted buyouts.
APM/MPR's union foreshadowed today's moves yesterday, calling for public help while highlighting their journalistic output:
Hi – the journalists of @mprnews and @apmreports have been working like crazy the last few months. We usually let our work stand on its own, but with our company facing budget problems, we need to recognize some things publicly and ask for your help. (thread)— MPR/APM Union (@MprApmUnion) June 15, 2020
Launched in 2016, Thile's Live From Here served as the bluegrassy spiritual successor to Prairie Home Companion, the beloved program from disgraced radio legend Garrison Keillor. Moe, the one-time ringleader of APM music/comedy show Wits, started Hilarious World of Depression that same year.
Though it turns out this past episode of Live From Here was our last new show, I know we’ll have many more music-filled evenings together by and by, and I’d like to propose a toast: to all you listeners out there. Thank you. It’s time for this noise-maker to follow your lead. -C— Chris Thile (@christhile) June 16, 2020
American Public Media has ended production of The Hilarious World of Depression podcast. I have been laid off. I am unemployed. I don't know what the future will be.— John Moe (@johnmoe) June 16, 2020
I thank them for giving me the opportunity to make the show happen in the first place. It's a hard day.
Click here to read McTaggart's full statement.