Iowa Public Radio today announced it is realigning its staff to complete a reorganization that began with the merger of three separate public radio station groups into a statewide network and to reduce Iowa Public Radio’s reliance upon state universities to fund its ongoing operations.
Mary Grace Herrington, the network’s CEO, says the realignment will include eliminating nine staff positions, representing 14% of its workforce, and redeploying staff resources into critical areas such as news reporting, talk show programming and marketing services. Several employees qualify for early retirement programs; others are being offered severance packages. Four positions are vacant and will not be rehired.
“This has been a difficult but a necessary decision by our leadership team. Losing talented staff is never easy, and the individuals involved will be missed. However, as with most organizational mergers, we needed to eliminate redundancies within Iowa Public Radio,” says Herrington.
“We also must live up to our commitments to the Board of Regents to reduce Iowa Public Radio’s dependence on the state’s universities for operational support, especially in light of the financial constraints on the institutions,” she said.
Approximately one-third of Iowa Public Radio’s $6 million operating budget is funded by Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa. The remaining revenue comes from corporate underwriting, memberships and grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
“The realignment allows us to operate more efficiently and serve our communities more effectively,” Herrington says, adding that the individual member count is up 7 percent and membership revenue is up 6 percent compared to last year.
David Miles, president of the Board of Regents, commended the Iowa Public Radio Leadership Team for placing the network on solid financial footing.
“They have created an organization that is valued all across the state. Iowans like what they are hearing. They are listening more and contributing more to Iowa Public Radio,” Miles says, adding that the network’s greatest strengths have come together to contribute to Iowa’s quality of life, further bringing our communities together.
Herrington attributes much of the increase in donor support to changes in programming that began in 2007 when Iowa Public Radio adopted three distinct formats: news and information, classical music, and alternative music. Since the programming changes, station ratings show the number of Iowa Public Radio listeners has increased 22% since the merger. Iowa Public Radio offers three streams of programming and broadcasts throughout the state on 21 frequencies. The operations have combined revenues of over $6 million annually. The five-member Iowa Public Radio Board of Directors includes one representative from each of the three state universities as well as two Iowans appointed by the Board of Regents.