PBS CEO Paula Kerger sends email announcing strategic layoffs for future stability


E&P has been given a copy of a recent communication PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger sent to local station general managers on June 11 to inform them about significant organizational changes enacted to maintain fiscal stability and operational efficiency. The email highlighted the necessity of these measures in response to ongoing economic instability, disruptions in the media landscape and political uncertainty.

Kerger emphasized the importance of examining business practices to ensure PBS remains well-positioned for the future. She noted that, after exploring various cost reduction strategies, PBS has decided to reduce staff to align spending with recurring revenue and allocate resources to the most promising areas.

“Today, 24 of our colleagues were impacted by these reductions across several of our teams. We also eliminated seven vacant positions,” Kerger stated. “This decision, while difficult, was deemed essential to ensure the organization’s long-term sustainability and effectiveness.”

Kerger expressed her gratitude for the contributions of the departing employees and acknowledged the difficulty of saying goodbye to colleagues and friends. She conveyed her confidence that these changes would ultimately benefit PBS, positioning it more robustly for future challenges and opportunities.

Copy of Email sent on Tuesday June 11, 2024

This announcement was part of a broader effort detailed in PBS’s Operating Plan and Budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The plan outlines the network’s commitment to finding operational efficiencies and delivering the best value to its stations despite the challenging external environment.

Like many other media organizations, PBS faces significant hurdles as it navigates an evolving media landscape and economic pressures. The staff reduction reflects a strategic move to adapt to these conditions while continuing to invest in areas that promise growth and resilience.

The email from Kerger underscores a critical moment for PBS, marking a period of adjustment and strategic realignment. As the organization bids farewell to valued team members, it also sets a course for a future that balances financial prudence with innovative investments in critical areas.

E&P reached out to the PBS organization for comment. Jason Phelps, senior director of external communications, responded, “We’ll let Paula’s note to the GMs speak for itself.”

Following this announcement, on Thursday, June 13, Current Magazine, a nonprofit news organization covering public media in the U.S. for professionals in the industry, sent an urgent appeal to its subscribers for financial support. The organization emphasized its crucial role in providing comprehensive, insightful public media coverage. The email stated, “Current is also a nonprofit, and the only news source solely focused on public media. To continue this essential work, we need you. The economic realities facing public media have a direct effect on Current’s revenues. Your donation by June 30 is crucial in helping us bridge this gap.”

The email also stated, "With a goal of $10,000 by June 30, your donation is needed now!”


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