(Bloomberg) -- National Public Radio plans to “severely restrict” hiring after a sharp decline in sponsorship revenue, joining a host of media companies re-examining their staffing needs as the business outlook darkens.
In an internal memo seen by Bloomberg, NPR Chief Executive Officer John Lansing said the broadcaster needs to immediately curb hiring, including slowing down the search for a chief content officer.
CNN chief Chris Licht also told workers on Wednesday that layoffs were underway and would continue through Thursday. He cited a “recalibrated reporting strategy,” in a memo to staff.
“I recently described this process as a gut punch, because I know that is how it feels for all of us,” Licht said.
NPR expects to have at least a $20 million shortfall in sponsorships for the current fiscal year, Lansing told employees. The broadcaster needs to reduce spending by about $10 million to return to its budgeted $5.2 million deficit for the year.
“This is close to a total hiring freeze,” he said, adding that he’s not anticipating layoffs at this time.
A spokesperson for NPR said a major portion of revenue comes through corporate sponsorships, which are sensitive to slowdowns in the broader economy.
The layoffs at CNN and hiring freeze in public radio are just the latest signs of trouble in the media jobs outlook. CNN’s parent, Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Paramount Global, Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Co. have all announced plans to cuts costs. On Tuesday, AMC Networks Inc. said it would terminate 20% of its US staff.
A steep decline in traditional TV viewing, coupled with consumers canceling their cable TV subscriptions, has impacted the business. New streaming services, many of which are unprofitable, aren’t picking up the slack.
Disney warned in a regulatory filing Tuesday that its management restructuring could result in impairment charges.
Read more: AMC Networks to Cut 20% of US Staff as CEO Abruptly Departs
(Updates with CNN details beginning in third paragraph.)
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