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NPR Cancels “Tell Me More”

Network also cuts 28 positions

National Public Radio is cancelling the weekday program “Tell Me More” as of Aug. 1 and eliminating 28 positions to relieve the organization’s budget deficits.

Getting out ahead of the bad news, NPR announced the changes itself.

The newest cuts, together with earlier buyouts, are projected to save the pubcaster $7 million a year, according to NPR’s media correspondent David Folkenflik. We’ve reported the NPR board voted to require its executives to go into the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, with projections of a balanced budget.

Because of earlier buyouts, eight of the eliminated positions are vacant, according to the account.

“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,” Folkenflik quotes NPR EVP/Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson as saying. “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.”

The latest cuts mean NPR’s total head count will be 7% lower compared to a year ago, according to the account.

“Tell Me More” Host Michel Martin and Executive Producer Carline Watson, will remain with the network as part of an initiative to incorporate coverage of race, identity, faith, gender and family into other NPR programming.

Though “Tell Me More” had more than one million listeners weekly and airs on 136 stations (out of 800 NPR affiliates), it costs a lot more to produce than it earns back, reports Folkenflik.