Michel Martin’s critically acclaimed show, Tell Me More, will be coming to an end this August due to NPR’s budget deficit. The program, which is the network’s only show that targets Black listeners, has been on their air for seven years.
Although Martin will remain with the network, she’s disappointed her show is being canceled.
“To be honest with you, I think we’ve been casualties of executive churn,” Martin said. “Every CEO who has been at this network since I’ve been here — and how many are there now? Six? Seven? — all of them have supported this program, but none of them have stayed around long enough to institutionalize that support.”
Tell Me More is just the latest show targeting African-American listeners to get the axe. Back in 2009, Farai Chideya’s News & Notes, which focused on issues affecting the diaspora, was shuttered due to budget constraints, and it appears Martin’s show is just the latest victim of NPR’s funding woes.
“These times require that we organize ourselves in different ways and that we’re smarter about how we address the different platforms that we reach our audiences on,” NPR Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson said. “We’re trying to make the most of the resources that we have and ensure that we keep radio healthy and try to develop audience in the digital arena.”
Tuesday’s cuts, which also include eliminating 28 positions, will reduce NPR’s costs by $7 million a year.
The network announced Martin and Tell Me More’s executive producer Carline Watson will be a part of an initiative to incorporate issues of race, identity, and gender into the network’s flagship programs. However, Martin hopes NPR lives up to its word to continue cover subjects that are important to her show’s audience.
“We’ve done a lot to show what’s possible here and I want to keep that going,” Martin said. “I can’t say you need to do better at serving these audiences and then walk away from it. I don’t think that’s fair.”