This bears watching. New England Public Media, which serves Western Massachusetts through WFCR Radio and WGBY-TV, is laying off 17 employees, or about 20% of its staff, according to Jim Kinney of MassLive. It looks like the cutting is mainly on the television side, with a Thursday evening magazine program called “Connecting Point” being canceled.
There’s also a relationship between the GBH Educational Foundation and New England Public Media: GBH holds the broadcast license for WGBY. In 2019, when WFCR and WGBY were merged, GBH said it would invest $6 million in the television station over the next six years, Adam Reilly reported at GBH News. Reilly wrote that the combined operation employed 78 people at that time.
Kinney reported that New England Public Media lost $4.6 million during the fiscal year that ended June 20, 2022, and that it “transferred $3.4 million from the WGBH Educational Foundation to its own balance sheet” during that same year. The operation is also in the midst of a $9 million renovation to its Springfield headquarters, again with GBH’s involvement.
I was a paid contributor at GBH News from 1998 until about a year ago, and I still have friends over there. I hope that New England Public Media can right its ship — and that its problems don’t spill over to GBH’s own local and regional news operations.