In Santa Monica, NPR affiliate KCRW is staring down the barrel of layoffs to end 2023 in the face of a significant budget shortfall. In response to a projected $3 million deficit, KCRW began offering voluntary buyouts to its employees last week, reports the LA Times. The station operates with an annual budget of around $23 million.
The station, employing about 155 people, is yet to set a specific target for its headcount reduction, awaiting volunteers’ decisions by Dec. 18. This isn’t the first time KCRW has offered buyouts; the station reduced its staff by 24 this way in 2020. Other local media outlets in the Los Angeles area have faced similar challenges.
Given its Southern California location, KCRW has been especially impacted by reduced advertising revenues, especially from film studios, during the recent Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes. KCRW’s income heavily relies on member contributions and corporate sponsorships, including those from studios promoting films and TV shows.
Pasadena’s LAist (KPCC) and the Los Angeles Times have also implemented staff cuts due to revenue shortfalls and reduced advertising.
KCRW President Jennifer Ferro told the LA Times, “This is our attempt to try to avoid layoffs. The biggest reason we’re doing this is because the studio dollars that we normally get every year just dried up or were postponed because of the strikes.”