iHeart Using BLM to Cut Jobs

So, let’s get this right.

Bob Pittman has started a Black Lives Matters radio network as a front to cut jobs initially from 15 stations with more to come.

Hiding these firings behind a movement that aims to attack systemic racism only emphasizes it more.

This is an example of pandering that only a white dominated media company like iHeart  could try to get away with.

Their new Black Information Network’s flaws are already exposed and what’s worse, you can almost smell how iHeart and the lemmings who follow them are going to jump on the BLM movement to advance their own goals.

Details on iHeart’s plan for BIN are downright embarrassing and may draw the kind of ire against the entire radio industry as an unintended consequence.

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Radio Will Come Back, Advertisers Not So Much

Stations have been floating their best advertisers during COVID.

When they return as paid sponsors, it will all be different in at least two important ways.

Some of radio’s misguided practices from the past will unfortunately resurface but there is one radio group that has been using the downtime to build campaigns that advertisers need and will pay for in a timely manner.

There are collection problems ahead making the full-fledged return of radio ads moot to the bottom line.

And Black Lives Matter – I guarantee you 100% of the nation’s radio stations don’t see the destabilizing effect of a potential BLM boycott and there is no industry that is more vulnerable to it than radio.

iHeart is also hoping to flip formats on 15 stations to a black “our voices will be heard” format – firing more people and creating a radio syndication under the cover of commercializing the issue of racial injustice – but will advertisers support a gratuitous effort that will seem like pandering from a group of white execs and a predominantly white board of directors?

Radio believes the new normal is to reopen and advertisers in radio and in social media are hitting pause – which is it?

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Will Entercom Ever Pull the Trigger on FM All-News?

Now, would be a good time.

But it looks like David Field is slow to wake up and take note of the reality as clear as the Nielsen’s under his nose.

A pandemic, racial strife we haven’t seen since the 1960’s, and a divisive election year. It’s an ongoing news cycle that should be drawing new ears to the Entercom all-news stations.

If, listeners could find them.

He’s got the FM stations to make the switch and simulcast AM news, but why is Field so reluctant when news accounts for a great deal of revenue from Entercom’s CBS Radio merger.

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Liberty Media’s iHeart Talent Dump

Some people don’t believe that David Field is planning to eliminate all live talent from his stations except for maybe one show – if that.   

Entercom’s WBBM, Chicago morning traffic reporter Beau Duran took to Twitter the other day to say “@Entercom has handled this so much better than other radio companies and here @jdelcolliano goes talking out of his ass once again”.

Except, it’s true – coming to all markets except New York and LA one live show per market max and even though David Field attempted to change the subject by restoring wage givebacks once the news leaked, he isn’t changing his mind about eliminating live talent.

Beau can’t be faulted for shooting the messenger, after all, radio folks just want to keep entertaining people but Field is the one who runs Entercom and he did not back down nor even attempt to walk it back.

What’s worse is when Liberty takes over iHeart (Liberty reportedly owns about 35% of iHeart’s debt and is asking the DOJ for permission), it will unfortunately mean firings like radio has never seen before in a model so unique that it has never been tried previously.

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Entercom Salary Restoration Funded by More Firings

When did you ever see David Field give money back to employees? 

He’s not known to be the radio industry’s “Discover Card” giving cash back to surviving employees.  He’s got plans to pay for yesterday’s grand salary cut restoration with more firings as we reported yesterday. More developments on firing all live air talent with very few exceptions.  It’s not if but when and there’s more on the timetable now.  And what Field did not say yesterday when he suddenly announced the end of the 20% pay cut that is just as important.  What happens with big talent contracts many of which expire at the end of the year.  Any chance that Field will change his mind?

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