Minnesota Public Radio announces 28 job cuts, end of 'Live From Here with Chris Thile'

The broadcaster and news service is under major budget pressure.

Minnesota Public Radio has announced it is making 28 job cuts and ending two shows – including the show that replaced A Prairie Home Companion – in the wake of ongoing budget pressures.

MPR and American Public Media confirmed the staff reduction on Tuesday, saying it's also cut executive pay between 20-35 percent, canceled 2021 pay rises, reduced working hours, and "implemented voluntary separations and furloughs."

It comes a day after the MPR/APM Union made a plea for support from the public, saying it has "urged them not to lay off journalists amid the biggest news stories of our lifetimes."

It's also been just over a month since 14 staff members, including MPR News director Laura McCallum, took voluntary staff buyouts at the St. Paul news organization.

As well as the staff cuts, MPR has announced the cancellation of Live From Here with Chris Thile, the variety show that was created from the remains of A Prairie Home Companion after Garrison Keillor's firing and split from the broadcaster.

Also canceled is The Hilarious World of Depression podcast hosted by John Moe.

Among those announcing they're leaving MPR/The Current is multimedia producer Nate Ryan and podcast producer Jeyca Maldonado.

Meanwhile, the MPR/APM Union says that the MPR News newsroom hasn't been too significantly impacted.

Economic turmoil amid pandemic

The cuts are the result of the "widespread economic turmoil and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," with MPR and APM saying it is "facing a large and unexpected financial challenge."

"Like all our media peers, over the past few months, some of our revenue sources have dramatically and simultaneously declined, particularly from regional and national underwriting, corporate sponsorship, national program distribution, ticketed events, custom travel, financial investments and other earned income," it said.

"While recent MPR and APM member drives and emergency fundraising efforts have been successful, with gifts from our Board and other donors, the generosity of our valued contributors is unfortunately not enough to offset the rapid loss of revenue we are experiencing."

MPR says the cuts it made were done in a way that "aligned with our mission, values and long-term vision" and "protects our core strengths."

"In making these changes, we are focusing our resources on the programming and services you value most," it said. 

It added:

"We will find new ways to give you more control over when and how you listen, and greater access to our content on your favorite media devices. We’ll offer fresh, distinctive programming that deepens our value to you and attracts new audiences. We will double-down on trusted, in-depth information that engages and equips you to make informed decisions about your health, the economy and our democracy. And we will invest in understanding and addressing the systemic issues of racism and inequities further exposed by the killing of George Floyd."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

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

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.

cook county schools

Investigation after assistant principal displays "joke" Gadsden flag during announcements

"My apologies to anybody who was offended by that part of the snake that was on that comic and it's been taken down."

Forest - orono, Minnesota

Report: Forests, agricultural land could help Minnesota reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The Nature Conservancy's Minnesota chapter released a report that shows how many acres of trees would be needed to help the state reach its reduction goals.

University of Minnesota

U of M will halt admissions to 12 PhD programs

The move is expected to help address the school's estimated budget shortfall of $166 million.

snow, plow

NWS says 'increasing potential for an impactful winter storm' this weekend

Nothing is certain yet. The weather service advises Minnesotans to monitor the forecast.

Mike Lindell, My Pillow CEO.

Under-fire Mike Lindell claims retailers have dropped MyPillow

The MyPillow CEO is seeing receiving backlash as he continues to share conspiracy theories about the election.

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Antoine Winfield Jr. says playoff win was "for my pops back in '09"

The son of the Vikings legend did not forget about "Bountygate."


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

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

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

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

MPR News reporter resigns, says outlet sat on misconduct story about Current DJ

Marianne Combs has been with the news organization for 23 years.

Minnesota public radio

MPR 'blindsided' by Marianne Combs' resignation

The news organization said her story did not meet its journalistic standards.