WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, posted “An Important Message About WBUR From CEO Margaret Low”. The message includes information about layoffs and changes to their podcasts.
…To begin, we are laying off 29 people. Many of them are part time staff. This means valued colleagues are losing their jobs at a very challenging time and will be leaving WBUR over the next days, weeks, and months. We’ve already been in touch with everyone who is immediately affected by the changes.
While I’m confident that WBUR has a bright future, this is a hard moment – because longtime coworkers and friends will be departing…
The message also points out there will be no wage increases for FY21, except for negotiated union salary adjustments. There will be no contributions to retirement funds. They have developed a reduced budget for the next fiscal year. The WBUR Board approved a FY20 budget of just under $46 million. For FY21, the Board approved a budget of just over $40 million.
CEO Margaret Low will be taking a 10% salary cut. WBUR had to eliminate seven unfilled positions, cut travel and marketing costs and canceled various contracted services.
Only a Game podcast will stop production at the end of September of 2020.
Modern Love will be taken over by The New York Times at the end of June of 2020. Personally, I hope that The New York Times won’t hide this wonderful, story-driven podcast behind a paywall.
Kind World which was described in the message from Margaret Low as a podcast “which blossomed from a digital experiment back in 2012 into an award winning Morning Edition feature and podcast”, will end its run in July of 2020.
The New York Times is in the process of creating an audio team that will work to launch a handful of new podcasts in 2016 and 2017. Those podcasts will focus on news and opinions and will be produced with outside partners.
Modern Love was the first podcast that the New York Times launched with an outside partner (in this case, that partner was WBUR in Boston). The introduction episode of Modern Love was released in December of 2015, and the official first episode was released in January of 2016.
Modern Love is hosted by Meghna Chrakrabarti (WBUR) and New York Times Modern Love editor Daniel Jones. Together, they share some of the best stories about love today. The content of the show is based on the New York Times Style section column (which is called “Modern Love”).
Neiman Lab reports that the creation of new podcasts was mentioned in a New York Times memo. It indicates that the company will “use those shows as a platform from which we can build audience for shows produced within The Times that are as integral to our coverage as our live events and visual journalism efforts.”
In other words, the main reason why the New York Times wants to launch some podcasts is in the hopes that the shows will pull in revenue and attract listeners at a broad scale. The New York Times already has three in-house produced podcasts that are not revenue-driven. Those shows are: Inside The Times, Inside the New York Times Book Review Podcast, (which is celebrating its 10th anniversary) and Music Popcast.
The New York Times has already started putting together an audio team. They include:
* Samantha Henig – will be editorial director of the new audio unit
* Kelly Alfieri – will be executive director of special editorial projects
* Diantha Parker – will be an editor and senior audio producer
* Catrin Einhorn – will be an audio producer
* Adam Davidson – will be an adviser. (He is the co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money and co-host of Gimlet’s Surprisingly Awesome.)
The New York Times is currently seeking an executive producer who will craft the creative vision of the audio team.