Hard times hit NPR

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The revenue woes that have decimated commercial media visited NPR today when the public radio network announced its cutting its staff by 10 percent.

NPR’s David Folkenflik tweeted today that NPR will offer voluntary buyouts to reduce the size of its operation, and will start the budget year with a 3 percent deficit on its $183 million budget. If the buyouts follow the patterns of other media, some recognizable names could soon depart the airwaves.

In a news release, NPR announced that it had named an interim CEO, board vice chairman Paul G. Haaga, a lawyer and retired chairman of board at Capital Research and Management Company. NPR is looking for a permanent replacement for Gary Knell, who departed for National Geographic.

But that buries the lede, which is the loss of talent at the operation, whose finances were buttressed when Joan Kroc, a Saint Paul native, left NPR $200 million when she died in 2003.

NPR recently moved into a new $201 million headquarters, which the Washington Post said has a “wellness” center, an employee gym and a gourmet cafe staffed by a resident chef. With 840 employees, it had outgrown its old facility.