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NPR Cancels Program Aimed at African American Audience, Fires 28 Employees

NPR Cancels Program Aimed at African American Audience, Fires 28 Employees

National Public Radio (NPR) has announced the end of another long-standing radio program, as it has canceled Tell Me More, a move that will see the publicly-supported broadcaster shed 28 employees.

“These times require that we organize ourselves in different ways and that we’re smarter about how we address the different platforms that we reach our audiences on,” NPR Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson said on May 20. “We’re trying to make the most of the resources that we have and ensure that we keep radio healthy and try to develop audience in the digital arena.”

Show host Michel Martin was seemingly shocked by the cancellation of her show and said that she felt it had exceeded expectations.

“To be honest with you, I think we’ve been casualties of executive churn,” Martin said to NPR’s David Folkenflik. “Every CEO who has been at this network since I’ve been here–and how many are there now? Six? Seven?–all of them have supported this program, but none of them have stayed around long enough to institutionalize that support.”

In 2012, NPR was running a major budget deficit, but the broadcaster recently began a new budget-conscious regime requiring each new fiscal year to start with a balanced budget; Tuesday’s cuts and other recent moves are reported to be saving NPR $7 million a year.

To save money, a list of programs have been ended over the last few years. Just last year, the long-standing series Talk of the Nation was canceled after a 22-year run.

The tax-subsidized broadcaster has for years been dogged by charges of being little more than a biased liberal mouthpiece. That reputation is not hampered with the addition of its new chief. After the appointment of NPR’s new president and CEO earlier this year, former MTV and E! network executive Jarl Mohn, it was reported that he is a big Democrat donor.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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