GBH Warns of Possible Layoffs as it Faces “Financial Headwinds”

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By Aidan Ryan Globe Staff,Updated March 27, 2024, 6:05 p.m.

GBH is facing possible staff layoffs as the station confronts financial challenges, chief executive Susan Goldberg confirmed to the Globe on Wednesday.

“Like many other media outlets, GBH is facing financial headwinds,” Goldberg said in a statement, in response to Globe questions. “We are looking at a variety of ways to address this, including eliminating end-of-year bonuses across the organization. While final decisions have not yet been made, layoffs are not off the table.”

Goldberg didn't specify how many of GBH's 850 employees could be affected by potential job cuts. She added that at this time, GBH is “not implementing a hiring freeze or making decisions about annual raises.”

GBH held a regularly scheduled all-staff meeting on Wednesday, where the organization discussed how the broadcast industry is changing and provided staff with an update on the budget, Goldberg said.

“As always, we are adapting our business to ensure we are best-suited to meet the moment, serve the community, and position GBH for the future,” Goldberg added.

GBH's warning of potential layoffs came a day after Boston's other NPR news station, , offered buyouts to staff as the organization attempts to cut its budget by 10 percent. Margaret Low, WBUR's chief executive, said the station still expects to freeze hiring for some roles and lay off staff.

On-air sponsorship revenue at WBUR has fallen 40 percent over the past few years, Low has previously said.

Despite both stations broadcasting NPR radio news programs in Boston, WBUR and GBH have different businesses. GBH operates 89.7 GBH and, like WBUR, has a digital news site, podcasts, newsletters, and live events. But it also produces programming and runs a television station. Its investigative documentary series, , produced “20 Days in Mariupol,” which recently won an Academy Award for best documentary feature film.

Public radio stations across the country have faced financial challenges this year, part of a broader trend in the media industry amid a downturn in advertising revenue. WAMU, an NPR news station in Washington, D.C., laid off staff last month and closed its website DCist last month. Colorado Public Radio also announced it was laying off 15 employees earlier this month in the station's largest cuts in 25 years.

GBH has faced other challenges recently. Several employees described a culture of fear and intimidation at the station brought on by management as GBH tries to expand digitally but lags WBUR and other outlets in ratings, the Globe reported last month. Goldberg said at the time that management had addressed some issues, but still had some work to do “like every other workplace.”

4 Comments

  1. Christine Lear on April 5, 2024 at 10:33 am

    From Fred Barzyk:

    It is a heartbreaking that so many Public TV and FM outlets are facing financial headwinds. No one wants to see layoffs. I suspect that our fund raising, targeting older demographics, may be a problem. Yes, it is a fact they send in checks. That is good. We must keep these viewers. And yet, for every action there is a reaction.

    I believe, Public Broadcasting has let the pendulum swing too far. The lack of advertisers is a natural outcome of such focused fund raising. We have few shows aimed at the audience advertisers want.

    This is a time for a new effort in the choice of programs. Let us expand our vision and we might just guarantee the future.

    • Karen Johnson on April 6, 2024 at 9:11 am

      Big thanks to Fred for his vision and clarity. Absolutely right about the pendulum, and need for widening market focus. There’s always been pain along with the joy as the once-little place grew. I’m sorry we’re not all still there to help.

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