Minnesota Public Radio Implements Buyouts, Furloughs
American Public Media’s offices in St. Paul Photo by Tony Webster/CC

Minnesota Public Radio Implements Buyouts, Furloughs

The nonprofit media group says it’s facing its “biggest financial test” amid Covid-19.

The Covid-19 crisis is hitting the media business hard everywhere. Large, established nonprofits like St. Paul-based Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media are no exception. In response, 14 MPR/APM staffers have accepted voluntary buyouts and roughly the same number have agreed to take furloughs.

“We are currently facing the biggest financial test we’ve ever faced. As we evaluate a wide range of changes to cut expenses, we’re taking great care with any changes to our programming and with decisions that affect the lives and livelihoods of our dedicated employees,” said Angie Andresen, a spokeswoman for Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media.

In an interview with Twin Cities Business last year, Jon McTaggart, president and CEO of parent organization American Public Media Group, said that the nonprofit’s annual revenue was typically in the range of $130 million to $140 million.

“We’ve already reduced executive compensation and we’re looking at every compassionate way we can adjust our expenses to our new revenue realities,” said Andresen. “One of those approaches was a Voluntary Employee Separation and Furlough Program. We had 14 MPR and APM colleagues apply for voluntary separation. They were all accepted and will take effect between late May and early June. About the same number of MPR and APM staff applied for the Voluntary Employee Furlough Program and plans for how these furloughs will be implemented are being discussed with each person who applied.”

Andresen declined to provide a list of employees who had taken “voluntary separation” and would not comment beyond the statement issued to Twin Cities Business. The buyouts represent a small fraction of the American Public Media Group’s 817 employees, including those with Southern California Public Radio.

Longtime MPR staffer Laura McCallum sent out a Tweet yesterday saying that she was leaving after taking voluntary separation: “After nearly 27 years in various roles, it’s time for a change!” When MPR news director Nancy Cassutt departed in December for a similar role with APM’s business-focused Marketplace, McCallum was named interim news director.