Executive pay at MPR, APM under scrutiny after 28 layoffs

The latest cuts were announced on Tuesday.

The cull of 28 employees at Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media on Tuesday has thrown a spotlight onto the levels of executive pay at the radio and news organization.

The latest cuts saw workers including multimedia producer Nate Ryan, director of communications Angie Andresen, and podcast producer Jeyca Maldonado lose their jobs, among others, and follows on from 14 voluntary buyouts taken in May that saw MPR News director Laura McCallum depart.

In the wake of Tuesday's cuts, attention turned to the pay levels of the senior leaders within MPR/APM.

As part of pandemic-enforced cost-cutting measures, MPR/APM has implemented executive pay cuts ranging from 20 to 35 percent to stave off job losses. It has also frozen the planned 2.5 percent pay bump for salaried employees.

How much were they paid?

A look at MPR/APMs most recent 990 tax filing, a requirement for tax-exempt organizations, reveals that in the financial year ending June 30, 2019, there were 20 individuals included in its disclosure list for "Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, and Highest Compensated Employees."

The total compensation for these workers – including salary, health benefits, retirement contributions, and service awards – ranged from $233,705 to $753,990.

Of those individuals, only two of them are on-air talent: Marketplace hosts Kai Ryssdal who earned $400,004 plus $46,864 in "other compensation" (retirement, health contributions) etc., and David Brancaccio, who earned $358,785 plus $21,188 in other compensation.

The highest earner was American Public Media Group President and CEO Jon McTaggart, who was paid $710,214 plus $43,776.

In total, these top 20 earners received total compensation of $7,552,902 in a year in which the organization posted a total revenue of $112,105,078, of which $84 million came from member donations and grants.

The 2018/19 pay for McTaggart was higher than that of Jarl Mohn, the President and CEO of National Public Radio, who was paid $646,129 plus $19,806 in other benefits in the same year.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

NPR made more than twice as much as MPR in that year, with total revenue of a little over $250 million.

The positions included in the top earners at MPR/APM include a wide range of executive and senior officer roles, including chief marketing officer, general counsel officer, senior-VP of human resources, and chief digital officer.

The loss of so many roles in the newsroom and in the organization's audio and visual departments in recent months have led to comment about the level of executive pay this week, not least from APM Reports associate producer Alex Baumhardt, who has been tweeting about executive pay since the cuts were announced.

She notes that McTaggart's 35 percent pay cut this year should be seen in the context that the pay for the APM CEO has increased almost $170,000 in the previous five years.

BMTN sent a series of questions regarding the levels of executive pay to MPR/APM, and received the following response:

"We follow our long-standing personnel policies and do not provide information on the terms of employment for any employee, including details about individual compensation. The Human Resources & Compensation Committee of the Board sets the compensation philosophy for the organization, relies on independent compensation advisors, uses best practices, and is responsible for decisions regarding CEO pay. Executive compensation is included in our annual 990’s and we make these reports available on our public websites."

Next Up

Gary Kubiak

Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announces retirement

Kubiak wraps up a career that has spanned nearly four decades.


Minneapolis police seeks public help finding missing woman

A 63-year-old woman has been missing since Tuesday

coronavirus testing

Don't want to talk to a contact tracer? MN debuts online option after positive test

The department says the survey will allow its staff to keep track of more cases at a faster pace

Family Dollar

Money Gal Coaching: 12 things you are wasting your money on

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

police lights

Three teens charged in Minneapolis robberies

The incidents took place on Saturday in Minneapolis.

covid-19, coronavirus, ppe

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, January 21

It's the first time in exactly four months that Minnesota has had fewer than 100 COVID patients in intensive care.

icy roads, bad roads

Girl, 16, killed in crash with semi on icy Minnesota road

The crash happened in Dodge County around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

police lights

Road rage incident sees driver punch out man's window, punch him in face

The incident happened in Waite Park Wednesday morning.

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 7.01.24 AM

Minneapolis will recover $100K in costs connected to 2019 Trump rally

The Target Center operator said it'll pay the costs over three years.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey confirms run for reelection

He has faced criticism over the city's response to George Floyd's death.


Minnesota public radio

John Moe tweets regrets, but not resentment about exit from MPR

Moe's podcast was one of the shows brought to an end during MPR's latest round of budget cuts.

Minnesota Public Radio MPR

MPR announces 28 job cuts, end of 'Live From Here'

The broadcaster and news service is under major budget pressure.

Minnesota Public Radio MPR

The Current announces raft of changes to its Sunday schedule

It's partly the result of cuts made by Minnesota Public Radio in recent weeks.

Minnesota Public Radio MPR

Why is the Chinese government demanding information from MPR?

The demand came from China's foreign ministry on Monday.

Minnesota Public Radio MPR

Staff at MPR, The Current officially vote to unionize

The new union will incorporate creative staff at The Current and Classical MPR.

Minnesota Public Radio MPR

Budget squeeze at Minnesota Public Radio sees 14 take voluntary buyouts

Its parent company says it's facing the 'biggest financial test we've ever faced.'

Minnesota Public Radio MPR

MPR employees demand anti-racist action amid recent employee departures

Three employees made headlines this month for leaving the company – two were let go, one resigned.