As reported by NPR’s own David Folkenflik, the public radio corporation is announcing it will trim its workforce by about 10%. NPR CEO John Lansing revealed the plans to staffers in a memo. Folkenflik reports that the laying off of at least 100 staffers is due to “the erosion of advertising dollars, particularly for NPR podcasts, and the tough financial outlook for the media industry more generally.” Lansing writes, “When we say we are eliminating filled positions, we are talking about our colleagues – people whose skills, spirit and talents help make NPR what it is today. This will be a major loss.” The story goes on to state, “On an annual budget of roughly $300 million, Lansing says, revenues are likely to fall short by close to $30 million, although that gap could reach $32 million.” Folkenflik notes, “The layoffs are in keeping with an increasingly grim landscape for media companies over recent months. Vox Media cut jobs by 7%; Gannett and Spotify by 6%. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, eliminated its Sunday magazine and a handful of other jobs. After becoming part of Warner Bros. Discovery, CNN cut hundreds of jobs and killed off its brand-new streaming service, CNN+.” Read Folkenflik’s piece here.
According to data from RAB’s newly released 11th annual benchmarking report in partnership with Borrell Associates, the radio industry is poised to hit $2 billion in digital sales this year. RAB says, “In 2022, radio stations drove $1.8 billion in digital sales, up 21.1% for the year. Those sales accounted for nearly one in five advertising dollars, with a fast-growing portion of it coming from the sale of streaming video advertising. That has led to a ‘tipping point,’ the report concludes, with half of the industry’s top-line growth expected to come from digital sales in 2023 and more local ad revenue coming from video streaming than audio streaming spots.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “Digital continues to be the catalyst for growth in today’s environment. A solid foundation in digital is a key driver for today’s successful marketing professional. As technology evolves, revenue and sales gains can only be obtained via digital services and training know-how. RAB continues to provide the training, tools and services needed to realize these gains.” The annual report shows that digital sales in 2022 comprised 19% of total ad revenue, representing between $85,064 for the average small-market station and $1.2 million for a station in a large market. Some market clusters were making tens of millions of dollars from digital ad sales. The full report – an analysis of online ad revenue from 3,753 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 851 local radio buyers and 169 radio managers – is available to RAB members.