A Line Out reader forwards a memo sent to KEXP staff and volunteers on Friday by Executive Director Thomas Mara which announces four layoffs to the station's NYC part-time staff due to hard economic times (perhaps you've heard of them!).
No layoffs have been announced in Seattle. The memo:
As you know, we are in the midst of hard economic times. It is with difficulty that I write to inform you that the recession has required KEXP to reduce staffing in order to maintain economically stability.
Earlier today, we conducted a lay-off including primarily folks who have been supporting our NYC project: Kevin Helfrick, Fred Rains, Tyson Lynn and Jacob Bennett.
Kevin was working part-time as our primary board operator. Fred, Tyson and Jacob were spending a one or two days a week helping with Mo-Glo and Wake Up. Michele Khazak will continue to work on WNYE and KEXP production.
Let me immediately say that each and every one of these individuals has done a /stellar/ job lifting our NYC broadcasts off the ground and creating some of the most innovative music programming in the country's largest city. The reasons for these reductions are purely economical. The economy simply has not been cooperative enough to sustain the current level of operations in NYC.
I encourage you to reach out to Kevin, Fred, Tyson and Jacob and offer your support. I've directed our HR staff to take steps to support them as much as possible in their transitions.
At this time, we have no plans to perform further layoffs. I believe the changes we have made will keep KEXP sustainable into next year and will position us to continue to make progress in regards to our mission. However, as we operate in this down-turned economy, we must remain agile. I will continue to communicate with you if we face compelling reasons to make further cuts.
In addition, I have directed our leaders to reduce non-staffing expense as much as possible. (I very much appreciate efforts people have already been making to stretch dollars and reduce cash expense these past few months. That has helped quite a bit.) From office supplies to equipment to remote broadcasts to travel, we have done a detailed job scouring our operating budget and identifying ways to reduce expense while upholding our core services.
I very much appreciate the time, energy, and creativity you contribute to our organization. Your fierce support of our mission is enabling us to continue being such a significant part of people's lives.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel very free to swing by.
As usual, a pleasure working with you all.
Update: A little background: KEXP moved some operations to NYC, partnering with that city's WNYE, in February of last year, at which time divisive morning show host John Richards began splitting his time between Seattle and NYC. Since then, some have speculated that Richards wasn't too happy either there or here.
Update: A correction: the laid-off staff were working on the station's NYC operations but were based out of Seattle. The post has been amended above.