Top Sellers Exiting Cumulus

There are stunning new numbers on the extent of the talent drain at Cumulus.

And, like Entercom that has in essence purged CBS market managers and programming talent from their company, Cumulus is doing the same thing with the same results.

The employees they think they don’t need, they are laying off and the ones they can’t afford to lose are leaving – and the evidence is convincing.

Mary Berner did this exact same thing when she bankrupted Reader’s Digest and perhaps you don’t know how that worked out for her.

She was fired (or left) and Reader’s Digest eventually entered a second bankruptcy.

Employees want to know the Reader’s Digest strategy as they fear for their future and want to get a read on what’s going to happen next -- should they stay or go?

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Losing FM on Smartphones

When Jeff Smulyan throws in the towel on his NextRadio smartphone FM project, you know the radio industry is calling Dr. Kevorkian.

No one has been more adamant and perhaps even too optimistic about unlocking smartphones to become ready FM radios than Smulyan.

And in the end, his efforts were thwarted by a small handful of incompetent radio CEOs that can somehow find the money to pay for other non-consequential things they want.

I’m thinking of $55 million to buy an unproven podcasting company, wasteful “advertiser” cruises in the south of France, an investment in the cannabis magazine High Times and pissing away millions on Nielsen. 

The repercussions for a radio industry that is publicly showing such disregard for activating the FM chips in radio will be great.

Some of the trouble starts immediately.

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Pizzati Raiding Cumulus

On August 1, 2016 Mary Berner called trusted Lew Dickey loyalist and EVP Gary Pizzati into her office and asked him point blank “How do you want to go out?”

He had a three-year $1.5 million no cut contract and asked for a lump sum and contract termination.

Berner refused instead opting to honor the deal to keep him from rejoining Dickey so she benched Pizzati until the end of 2017 when he left.

Then Pizzati’s non-solicit kicked in which prevents him from hiring Cumulus employees during that period.

Now it’s payback time.

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Entercom Investors Panic

Just when you worried that David Field couldn’t find anyone to replace Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker to carry Entercom’s water over their failed CBS merger integration, another sucker steps up.

Ryvicker lost her gig in a very public way on the eve of the recent NAB Radio Show where she was to be a headliner.  There is no way to know whether her college friend David Field muddied her view of Entercom.

She’s now in the entertainment industry’s version of Siberia so to speak as the managing director of Wolfe Research, a company that covers oil and gas, the trucking industry – not radio, or TV, or digital, her specialty.

A lot of effort is going into covering up the fact that Entercom is ready to crash.

But it’s the changes that haven’t been implemented yet that are of real concern.

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Change of Plans for Lew Dickey

Lew Dickey has wanted to buy Cumulus ever since he was removed in a bloodless coup by board chairman Jeff Marcus several years ago.

That was then.

In the meantime, Dickey has secured the money it would take for the current board (a group of lenders not operators) to seriously consider his takeover bid.

But something has gone very wrong.

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