iHeart Copycat Firings Being Planned

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

Small market Tyler Media blew away most of its air staff on a number of stations in the Oklahoma City cluster.  Their talk station opting for out of market programming and air personalities on their music stations fired to save money.

You see why I have called Bob Pittman’s 1,000+ “dislocations” in a less than a week “the end of local radio.”

iHeart is providing cover for every underperforming owner who can’t pay the bills to make “dislocation” the new layoffs.

That’s bad, but it gets worse.

Only a few groups have insulation against iHeart’s virus-like action against local radio but the list of groups now planning massive cutbacks under the cover of iHeart’s first move is growing.

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iHeart’s New Plan to Replace Local Sellers

A new plan that is currently being tested under the radar is critical to iHeart’s eventual move to reduce the local sales headcount with an eye toward eliminating all their commissions, health benefits and expenses.

Bob Pittman appears to be a serious as an iHeart-attack in aggressively reducing the biggest expense in the company – salaries.

Revenue is down are likely to stay down in the future thus the need to cut costs and increase EBITDA, a measure of financial health for companies.

Pittman’s test effort to replace local sellers with a new strategy is being done under the radar and the impact could be disastrous for salespeople in iHeart and their competitors who are likely to be watching closely.

One look at their test site will speak volumes.

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Entercom to Launch Its Own “Dislocation”

There’s blood in the water now that Bob Pittman has actually gone there and reportedly fired over 1,000 programmers and air talent.

Pittman is doing it to get ready for Liberty’s (SiriusXM, Pandora, Live Nation) takeover of terrestrial radio.

David Field is doing it because there is no buyer for Entercom and revenue is slipping.

Under the cover of iHeart’s “excellence centers” and employee “dislocations”, Entercom is ready to move quickly to cut costs in what may be an even more dramatic way.

The coming Entercom cuts target two areas – one of which iHeart has missed, at least for now.

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iHeart Aims for More Stations Than Employees

iHeart is moving like lightning to “dislocate” even more employees than originally thought.

In fact, we have reporting that shows model markets where a startling few number of on-air and programming people run entire clusters.

Not as drastic in the big seven markets that bring in between 30-40% of all iHeart’s radio revenue, but there too.

Meanwhile Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has written to Bob Pittman protesting the drastic cutbacks (Brown’s letter here).

That has no chance of stopping what we’re seeing unfold now in iHeart markets that is absolutely mindboggling.

In other words – here is their template for local radio.

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Note:  Yesterday our website was down most of the day.  For me it was like my transmitter being off the air for 30 seconds – an eternity.  My readers were really ribbing me.  One said, “don’t pay the ransom” alluding to the Entercom cyberattacks where David Field is rumored to have paid the hackers.  Another reader suggested that Bob Pittman “dislocated” me for the stories I wrote about their employee atrocities.

So here it is – the story you may have missed when Inside Music Media went missing:

iHeart Planning 2nd Programming RIF

iHeart Planning 2nd Programming RIF

Just 10 days after eliminating over 1,000 radio jobs – mostly programming positions – iHeart is at work on a second reduction of force.

There is the expected takeover of iHeart by Liberty Media but why would iHeart do Liberty’s dirty work?

With 12,500 employees – including part-timers – now down to just above 11,000, how is it even possible that such a massive platform of 150 clusters, 850+ stations and related businesses be reduced any further?

They have a plan for that.

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