Discover more from The Squeeze
NYPR CEO Eliminates FY23 Leadership Team Bonuses, Warns Of "Additional Cost Cutting" Ahead
Click to Read An Internal Memo From CEO LaFontaine Oliver
Hey Everyone —
Briefly emerging from vacation to share an internal memo from New York Public Radio CEO LaFontaine Oliver that was sent to employees after an all-staff meeting. I’m relieved to see that leadership will bear some of the brunt of the station’s eight million dollar deficit, but can’t help worrying about whether this all portends layoffs in the fall.
(In case you are new here, this memo is of particular interest to me, as I’m currently working on a series about NYPR’s WNYC public radio station. Part one is here, part two is here, part three is still to come.)
Here’s the full text of the memo —
Thank you all for joining the all-staff meeting earlier today.
Today's meeting was especially important, and I want to reiterate for everyone who was there and those who may have missed the call that, as we shared, our deficit has worsened as the economic headwinds NYPR and media at large are facing have strengthened. We are closing the fiscal year that ends this month with an $8 million deficit, and we're projecting continued deficits in the year ahead.
As I shared at the meeting, public media holds a special place in the media landscape, and our mission and membership model set us apart. But we also exist side by side with both commercial media and other non-profit media, and we're subject to the same financial pressures and changes in consumer behavior as the rest of our peers. We are all going for the same audiences' time, attention, and financial investment, much of the same foundation support, and the same advertising dollars.
Given the reality we are facing, we announced earlier today that we are heading into the new fiscal year with two additional cost-saving measures. First, in keeping with our broader hiring hold, we are suspending our next intern cycle. Our interns are incredibly valuable members of our staff and community, and we are greatly disappointed that this is a measure that must be taken. As I assured the staff members who attended the meeting, the summer internship will not be interrupted, and Brenda Williams-Butts, who oversees the interns who are paid by third-party outside organizations, is prepared to try to secure more of these opportunities to fill at least some of the gap.
And second, I've made the decision to eliminate FY23 bonuses for the senior leadership team. These measures follow a series of other cost-saving measures we've taken to control what we can control in such an unpredictable environment: our expenses. These include instituting a hiring hold, suspending T & E, requiring pre-approval for OT, and forgoing the April promotions cycle. But to be clear, on their own, they aren't enough to stave off wider implications of the deficit.
To that end, today I also announced that — together with the Board — we are embarking on a financial planning process to look at everything we do and assess how best to meet our mission while returning us to financial sustainability. That process will last through the summer and will almost certainly result in additional cost-cutting in the coming fiscal year.
This obviously goes without saying, but this is not where we hoped to be, and I know these decisions have a real impact on your work. We know how discouraging the news can be, and I want to assure you these measures have not been taken lightly.
New York Public Radio is an extraordinary institution and I know you all care very deeply about our future, our audiences, and each other. I don't take your continued commitment for granted, and as I've said many times since I first joined, I promise to keep you as informed as possible. I ask for your patience as we work on a plan to become sustainable — now and into the future.
The Squeeze is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.