GBH Staff Angry As High Executive Pay Persists Despite Layoffs


Boston public radio operator GBH laid off 31 staff members in May, citing a challenging financial landscape characterized by stagnant revenue and rising operational costs. Now GBH employees are questioning executive compensation, which remains unchanged.

The Boston Globe found that the sixteen highest-paid executives collectively earned $5.9 million in total compensation last year. Throughout the financial navigation process, none of the executives saw a reduction in their base salaries, which for nine of them exceeded $300,000 annually.

GBH CEO Susan Goldberg told staff in an email, “We made these hard choices only after implementing a range of other cost-saving measures and operating efficiencies. The basic reason for these reductions is simple: revenues are flat and the cost of doing business has gone up. A lot.”

The majority of cuts affected the GBH newsroom, with three public TV offerings being cut with the intention being to, “re-invent them as digital-first programming.” Many staff members involved were paid anywhere from $50,000 to $65,000, according to current and former employees.

Boston Public Radio co-host Jim Braude told the Globe that he and other high-paid colleagues would have willingly taken pay cuts to prevent the layoffs. Braude’s own salary was revealed to have decreased from the previous fiscal year, following his departure from another program, highlighting some shifts in compensation amidst the financial turmoil.

A month prior to GBH’s cuts, Boston’s other major public radio affiliate, WBUR, reduced staff by 14% through layoffs and buyouts. However, CEO Margaret Low also agreed to take a 10% pay cut as part of the budget stabilization process.

This restructuring at GBH reflects wider issues within the public media sector, where many organizations are grappling with how to adapt traditional business models in an increasingly digital and competitive environment.

The debate continues within and outside GBH about the appropriateness of executive pay levels, especially in times of financial distress and organizational downsizing, highlighting ongoing tensions between leadership compensation practices and the financial realities facing much of the traditional media industry.


  1. The whole concept of taxpayer-subsidized “public” radio and TV is from a bygone era. We have the internet now, plus laptops even for underprivileged children in schools. The poor are not turning to public radio or public TV. End these subsidies now.
    These stations need to learn to support themselves, or they should sell the stations.


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