SPRINGFIELD — New England Public Media will stop producing "Connecting Point" and is laying off 17 people, or 20 percent, of its staff.
A statement from Vanessa Cerillo, senior director of marketing, communications and events for NEPM, cited “…serious financial headwinds from the last three years,” as having “led us to the painful decision to reduce our staff by 17 people. We will provide these employees with financial and career placement support and we remain committed to serving our community.”
The show was a magazine-like series that focused on arts and culture in Western Massachusetts.
Boston’s public radio station, WBUR, wrote an independent report of the news about NEPM. For it, WBUR reviewed financial statements for NEPM for fiscal years 2021 and 2022 and noted a deficit “that has grown to nearly $4.7 million.”
“The layoffs come as the national news network NPR prepares to lay off 10% of its workforce this week, or roughly 100 people,” according to WBUR's report.
New England Public Radio combined with WGBY-TV, Springfield’s public television station, in 2019 to form New England Public Media, according to WBUR.
At that time, Martin Miller, who was then president of New England Public Media, and Anthony Hayes, chief operating officer and general manager, issued a joint statement, which is still available online. Both have since left NEPM.
That joint statement read in part: “Together, we’ll build on a shared legacy of investing in the communities of western New England. At a time when other media outlets are contracting, we are stepping forward to share and maximize our resources.”
Cerillo’s March 22 statement said, “We remain committed to covering local arts and culture in the most impactful ways for our audiences and to growing our coverage of those subjects.”
In addition, she wrote, NEPM launched has launched a program called The Fabulous 413, which “will help us continue this important work. We plan to invest further in that initiative, among other local efforts.”