KQED Layoffs 2024 – Discontinued News

The Bay Area’s KQED is preparing for layoffs this week. It may affect up to 25 employees a month after disclosing that it was offering a staff buyout offer. According to KQED CEO Michael Isip, just nine staff members have taken voluntary resignation offers.

KQED Layoffs Including temporary workers and interns, KQED now employs 387 individuals. Fifteen of those are working on limited-term contracts. This brings the total number of employees to 525. The public broadcaster, an NPR and PBS station that serves the San Francisco Bay Area, reported $90.4 million in revenue and $100.9 million in costs for 2023. Another shortfall is expected in 2024.

The entire public radio sector is facing similar issues. This includes declining listenership and shifts in how people consume news.

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About KQED

KQED is the most well-known public broadcasting station in the Bay Area. According to KQED’s 2023 community report, overall revenue was $90.4 million, and expenses were $100.9 million. The company is an NPR and PBS affiliate that operates radio and television stations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 2020, KQED laid off 20 employees, or 5.5 percent. It was done to close a $7.1 million budget imbalance. The following year, the station relocated to its new $94 million headquarters building at 2601 Mariposa St. in the Mission District.

KQED is in a new $94 million building in San Francisco’s Mission District, completed in 2021. 

KQED started employee buyouts

KQED Layoffs

KQED President Michael Isip advised staff members in an email dated April 17 that buyouts are a first step toward cost reduction. He also mentioned that alternatives may be required, such as layoffs or a hiring freeze.

In the email, Isip stated, “We’re expecting a higher than expected budget shortfall at the end of this fiscal year. We’ve run with a board-approved budget loss for the last two years.” “This is not feasible long-term. So, we need to take action and find reductions to get us back on track to decrease our shortfall.”

According to the email, staff aged 55 and older who have been with the firm for at least ten years are eligible for early retirement packages. It is mentioned as part of the buyout program. The company will also consider buyouts for additional interested employees.

The email stated that those who choose to join the buyout will have their final work day on June 14. A representative for KQED, Peter Cavagnaro, stated as follows:

“This voluntary program has been created to allow qualified employees to make their own career decisions. It also helps us to reduce any layoffs and budget cuts.” “We feel this is the most practical and sensible way to face this challenge at this time,” he added.

KQED plans to lay off up to 25 employees

KQED expects to lay off 18 to 25 employees this month. The station’s president emailed its workers on May 13, 2024.

In April, KQED offered buyout packages to employees as a first step toward addressing a budget deficit. In this situation, KQED’s director of communications, Peter Cavagnaro, agreed to lay off 18 to 25 employees. “We’re continuing to look at the effect of the response to the voluntary departure offers on our budget,” Cavagnaro said in a statement.

According to the email, “four employees have already accepted the early retirement programs. It is available to anyone 55 and older who has worked for the company for at least ten years straight. KQED has also granted five employee requests for voluntary departure packages.”

“Our goal is to reduce the impact on our service to the community, our listeners, and our staff,” said the station’s president, Michael Isip, in an email. “Budget reductions will be made up of a range of cuts across the organization, possibly layoffs.”

Details on the budget cuts, including layoffs, will be released by the end of the month. The next update is coming on May 23 during an all-staff meeting.

Conclusion

In short, the cuts result from rapidly rising costs, especially for salaries and benefits. However, revenue from people, corporate sponsors, and other sources has decreased.

“It’s difficult,” Michael Isip explained. “The people of KQED are what make the organization so unique. And losing coworkers has an impact not only on your daily job but also on overall morale.” 

Isip stated that the company has no debt linked to the restoration of the building. Also, the building’s annual maintenance cost of $1.5 million “is not a major driver” of expenses. According to Isip, most of the costs were caused by KQED adding 54 new roles to its operating budget, which was supported by the campaign. That was done with the expectation that as content expanded, revenues would grow to cover the added spending.

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