Furloughs & staff cuts continue at iHeart & Beasley

iHeart Media will be extending employee furloughs another 90 days due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ad revenues.  Chief Personnel Officer Lorna Hagen told AllAccess.com that the negative impact on revenue has lasted “far longer than anticipated,” and the company “will not return to full office staffing levels for some time.”  Furloughs at the corporation began Apr. 4 but employees continue to receive medical, dental, and vision benefits, and are eligible in most cases for unemployment, although the level of compensation may vary by state.

Meanwhile at the Beasley Media Group, additional rollbacks will be implemented this week. Radio Insight  obtained a memo sent to employees by Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley, who announced that the company will extend and make additional financial cutbacks including reducing performance based bonus distributions for bonuses earned in Q3 and Q4, extending the 10% wage cut for salaried full-time employees and extending the 10% reduction in hours for full-time hourly employees through the end of 2020. The company will also be extending all employees currently on furlough through the end of the year, although that may change as some may return sooner based on the needs of each individual market. Caroline Beasley will also continue her own 20% cut in compensation through the end of the year.

A record number of AM & FM stations have left the air since the beginnings of the pandemic earlier this spring.  While some have filed temporary “silent STA” status with the FCC, questions remain whether some stations will return to air at all.  A number have surrendered their licenses already & given up.  In our state, this includes Bustos Media’s AM stations in Auburn/Seattle & Prosser/Tri-Cities.

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

8 thoughts on “Furloughs & staff cuts continue at iHeart & Beasley

  1. The new order of comments is like reading a book and having to start at the back cover.

    Hundreds of websites have viewing options available
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    1. Newest comments show first. It’s a NEW COMMENT ORDER. The illuminated admin has set this up. Submit!

  2. Mike, the last sentence in my previous comment says it all.

    Nobody – the program director, the station manager, the corporate honchos – could muster up enough humanity to acknowledge and thank him for twenty-four years of service, ad revenue, high ratings, love and respect for and from the community.

    He was surely the highest paid person on the air and that’s the only reason he was kicked out the door. No consideration was given to what he had brought to the company, only to what he was taking from the bottom line.

    1. Dick – quite right. But that seems typical of most of these large corporate broadcasters. At times,there will be a thankful PD or GM as someone gets booted out the door due to lay offs but not very often. Today’s large broadcast groups consider their talent as disposable peons. There always seems to be another broadcaster down the road willing to fill the position for less pay & benefits. Not much longer though – the humans that provide the warmth, skill & talent behind the mic or in front of the camera will all be replaced by AI robots. No pesky humans to get in the way of maximum corporate profit & returns.

  3. His contract was not renewed. That is all we need to know. The almighty dollar rules. The CEO will continue stuffing his briefcase with money until he gets that golden parachute upon exit.

  4. With apologies to Lewis Carroll, “Off with their heads!” screamed the Queen of Heartless.

    The following article is about someone who exited, departed, left – – – gracious! Then the whole thing was his idea?

    Here’s the headline from June 10 https://radioinsight.com/ “Steve Holstein Exits Mornings At WIXY Champaign After 24 Years”

    Morning host Steve Holstein has exited Saga Communications Country 100.3 WIXY-FM Champaign IL after 24 years with the station as the company accelerates cutbacks.

    Holstein had been in mornings WIXY-FM since 1996 and also publishes show prep site InterPrep. With Holstein’s departure, the station has moved Program Director/afternoon host Kurtis Allen to mornings alongside co-host Melissa Anfield.

    An award-winning radio personality has left the air. Steve Holstein, host of the “Holstein & Company Morning Show,” will no longer be heard on WIXY-FM. The station’s parent company terminated his contract on June 5.

    Holstein said, “It’s a tough time for businesses that rely on advertising. After 24 years my contract termination is disheartening but I certainly understand the decision made by Illini Radio Group and its parent company, Saga Communications.”

    Sue Grey, CEO of United Way of Champaign said, “Working with Steve over the years has been great. His support and dedication to making our community a better place were evident in his work at the studio as well as his volunteer service to many local non-profits. His voice on the air will truly be missed!”

    Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen added, “It’s been a pleasure to work with Steve in my capacity as Mayor. Although being on ‘Holstein & Company’ was always fun, when I was on the air with Steve he always took the time to ask important questions. I know I join the rest of Champaign when I say that his voice will be greatly missed as we start each day.”

    Holstein joined WIXY in 1996, creating the show with community and families in mind. During his 24 years with the station he visited over 4,000 classrooms in East Central Illinois to record the Pledge of Allegiance. He won awards from the Illinois Broadcasters Association and the Country Music Association. Holstein created and co-hosted the Illinois Marathon’s “Mile Zero” pre-race show, heard by thousands of runners annually on marathon morning. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Stephens Family YMCA, is a recent long-time mentor with CU 1 to 1 Mentoring, and is a trusted voice on dozens of TV and radio commercials for local businesses.

    Holstein added, “The broadcasters on West Bradley Ave. are some of the best, particularly those who were a part of my morning show for almost 25 years. I will never forget the award-winning moments I spent with Melissa Anfield and Andy Roberts (whose contract was terminated in 2019). ‘Holstein & Company’ is no longer on the radio, but it leaves behind a legacy of great ratings and a community connection that’s rarely heard on local radio today.”

    There was no comment from management.

    1. Dick – if one wants to continue to work in the broadcast industry, that person needs to ‘play nice’ when they are dumped by a broadcaster, regardless of how long their employment tenure lasted. In this current age where every minute comment or statement is dissected by the screaming hordes who populate social media, a potential candidate cannot afford to air ‘sour grapes’ or disdain for getting the axe. Negative comments or displays of anger, frustration at getting fired manage to get read by future employers & now seem to considered part of applications to obtain new positions, along with resumes & audio/video clips. More than a few who’ve grumbled about the brutal experience of getting fired/laid off from radio & TV outlets have had their comments & ‘sour grapes’ come back to bite them in the ass.

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