Santa Monica’s hometown radio station, KCRW, has lost 28 positions in the past week as the NPR affiliate is working to overcome a 30 percent decline in revenue.

In a letter released this week, KCRW President Jennifer Ferro said the revenue loss was due to a decline in sponsorships from categories worst his by the pandemic and while the station has made efforts to offset the loss, it simply wasn’t enough to prevent layoffs.

“Earlier this year, we were able to secure a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the federal government. That, coupled with immediate non-personnel budget cuts, allowed us to keep our staff whole through August,” she said. “However, the extended nature of the economic ramifications of COVID has now required us to take further action to preserve the financial sustainability of the station and the services we provide.”

She said that membership figures were actually growing with corresponding donations but the station still had to offer buyouts to staff this month.

“In the end, 24 KCRW employees took advantage of the voluntary separation program,” she said. “Their participation helped stave off the need for larger cuts. In order to align ourselves strongly for the future, we made the difficult decision to eliminate four positions.”

Ferro said senior leadership will be taking an aggregate cut of 20 percent to their salary.

She said the station continues to advance programming even during cuts. She said the station has launched a new partnership show with the other Los Angeles NPR station KPCC and the station will launch a new political show later this month.

“As we look to the future, we will lean into what KCRW is known for – music discovery, vital news and information and cultural programming. We plan to place even greater emphasis on engaging with our digital audience, which has grown significantly since the safer-at-home orders began,” she said.

The station has also launched a documentary music podcast this month and she said the station has had success with virtual events centered on music.

“KCRW is a special place with deep connections to the communities we serve,” she said. “We remain committed to telling stories that inspire a greater understanding of the institutions and people around us. In the current moment, our mission is more important than ever.”

editor@smdp.com