Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Damn! NPR Cancels Only African American-Themed Program

This was a bit of a shocker, reading the story this morning while prepping to get to work. 

I've been a regular listener of the program for the last 2 years, and rarely missed an episode. It was on the News & Notes section of the NPR website where my October 2007 op-ed piece on the need for a black owned and operated film studio was printed - an occurrence that generated more interest in my work than any other opportunity I've exploited. 

This is (was) NPR's sole program that focused entirely on the experiences of black people worldwide - not just in America. It's really unfortunate that it has become a victim of failing economics, and I'm sad to see it canceled. 

It likely will not be replaced - at least not in the foreseeable future.

The story goes...
straight from the source:

NPR News announced Wednesday that it is canceling two daily radio programs — Day to Day and News and Notes — as part of a broader effort by the company to close a projected budget shortfall of $23 million for its current fiscal year. Overall, NPR will cut 7 percent of its work force and slash expenses further around the company.

The two shows will go off the air on March 20, and 22 journalists working for them will lose their jobs, including hosts Madeleine Brand and Farai Chideya. The shows are both based in Culver City, Calif., at NPR West, a major satellite operation.

Day to Day was designed as a midday complement to mainstays Morning Edition and All Things Considered, while News and Notes, a successor to The Tavis Smiley Show, was intended to draw more African-American listeners. Beyond the two shows, another 12 journalists will lose their jobs throughout NPR News.

Companywide, NPR is laying off 64 people and eliminating 21 other positions that are currently vacant. NPR News will still have more than 800 employees on staff, including about 300 journalists.

"It is important for you to understand why we chose to cancel 'News & Notes' and 'Day to Day,' and the implications for programming strategy and commitments," NPR's interim CEO Dennis Haarsager said in a memo to employees. "Neither program was attracting sufficient levels of audience or national underwriting necessary to sustain continued production under these tough financial circumstances."

So it goes...

From what I hear, this was just as unexpected for the hosts of each program, as the announcement came without warning. News like this, along with all the other recent reports of massive, nationwide job cuts from every section of industry, should make every still-employed person a little uncomfortable. I'm certainly anxious.

As expected, a petition has been created to encourage NPR executives to keep New & Notes on the air. You can find it HERE.

This is a moment that's begging for a hero! In some alternate universe, one (or several) of our many wealthy African Americans in media would ride in to save the day - or in this case, save the program - by opening up their seemingly bottomless wallets.

Maybe that'll happen... maybe...


  1. SolShine7 said...

    What a dart to the heart! As an avid NPR fan I'm sad to see this show go.

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