U.S. public broadcaster National Public Radio announced Wednesday it will cut seven per cent of its workforce and eliminate two shows to save money.
NPR is facing a shortfall of $23 million US in 2008 because of declining revenue from businesses that underwrite its programs and from other sources, said chief executive Dennis Haarsager.
The programs to be cut, beginning in March 2009, are Day to Day, which was aimed at younger listeners, and the interview program News & Notes, which targeted African-Americans.
Haarsager said the shows had failed to attract "sufficient levels of audience or national underwriting necessary to sustain continued production under these tough financial circumstances."
NPR is eliminating 85 jobs, out of a total workforce of 889. That figure includes 21 vacancies that won't be filled.
Many of the jobs that have been eliminated are in the two programs that have been cut, including News & Notes host Farai Chideya and Day to Day host Madeleine Brand.
About half the layoffs involve journalists, including Ketzel Levine, an NPR reporter since 1977, Vicky O'Hara, a 26-year veteran, Washington reporter Libby Lewis and entertainment-industry correspondent Kim Masters.
Travel and other discretionary expenses have also been cut.
"All our revenue sources are under pressure," Haarsager wrote in a memo. "All industries, including the financial, automotive and media industries, historically our biggest underwriters, are cutting back significantly."
Sponsorships are the second-largest source of revenue for NPR, behind fees paid by member stations. Local NPR affiliates often raise money from listeners with on-air fund-raising drives.