- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2002

National Public Radio Inc. announced 20 job cuts yesterday, the result of a reorganization of the nonprofit broadcaster's cultural news and programming divisions.
The job cuts take effect Aug. 16. In addition, the broadcaster plans to discontinue some of its cultural programs and revamp others, such as "Performance Today," its classical music and interview show.
"Many of the people affected today are people who are really dedicated to their jobs. It is a difficult day for NPR," said Ken Stearn, executive vice president.
The reorganization is necessary to make the operation more efficient and eliminate "artificial barriers" in the way NPR creates and distributes cultural news and programs, Mr. Stern said.
NPR employs 47 persons in its cultural news and cultural programming divisions.
The cultural news division includes reporters who cover the arts for NPR's news shows such as "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." The cultural programming division includes workers who produce NPR's entertainment shows, including its classical music, opera and jazz programs.
The broadcaster will essentially combine the two divisions. After the merger, it will employ 32 persons.
Although 30 workers received pink slips yesterday, many of them are expected to be rehired in newly configured positions once the cultural divisions are merged.
Twenty positions will be eliminated entirely, including 15 cultural news and programming jobs and five engineering jobs.
Almost all the workers are based in Washington, where NPR is based.
The majority of the workers are members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
A union representative could not be reached yesterday. In a memo to union members, union leader Charles Mayer said NPR "does have the right to reorganize. But we believe it is an act of bad faith for NPR to have excluded AFTRA from the process until the plans were a fait accompli."
There will be no changes to many of the cultural shows that NPR distributes but does not produce itself, such as "Car Talk," "Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz" "Says You!" and "The Thistle & Shamrock."
NPR provides its commercial-free programming to more than 640 member stations across the nation.
The independent broadcaster receives some government money, but its primary source of funding comes from member-station dues and contributions from listeners.
NPR is currently negotiating with about 80 technical employees represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians.

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