Cumulus to Regionalize Business Managers

Follows iHeart and Audacy

  • This is another step for work consolidation like the regionalization of other positions such as traffic as GMs and business managers were informed of the changes Tuesday.
  • People being offered full-time regional jobs based on where they are, or want to be – and plus they can also opt to work from home or at Cumulus offices as needed.
  • Cumulus has lost a number of corporate finance positions since Frank Balboa-Lopez joined the company – he may be revamping to have better control and reporting.

Uncertainty of who stays and who goes

  • May be 30 or more firings.
  • Corporate gets to pick the cream of the crop and realize major savings at the same time.
  • Current business managers may be offered bonuses to stay and possibly raises because in toto Cumulus is still saving great amounts of money by employing fewer business managers.

Impactful bottom-line savings

  • Cumulus will not need many people to fill the comparatively few regional business positions.
  • Big impact is lifting the operational expenses off of the stations/markets which gives a bottom-line savings where it counts.
  • Saving 40k to 70k per market, depending on size, is more impactful than saving at corporate since the stations trade at a multiple of cash flow.
  • Corporate is strictly overhead meaning it is positioned as a better way to operate, with each region having its own finance group. 

The traffic consolidation playbook 

  • Managers liked the regionalized traffic scheduling system that saved a lot of money for Cumulus (and other consolidators) once the initial problems were overcome.
  • Eliminating local traffic managers puts an end to sellers walking in and spiffing the traffic manager to ask forgiveness for a nonpayment client.
  • Each station works with the same traffic manager and the same is expected to be the case for regional business managers.

Future Cumulus job consolidations

  • As for market managers, Cumulus is heading toward the way iHeart handles it – and these changes are likely to happen very soon given the dire financial crisis at Cumulus.
  • Coming soon: local GSMs only, with regional managers in some contiguous markets – each close-by cluster will not necessarily have their own market manager.
  • Market managers making between 250k to 500k in a larger market close to other markets should be concerned as this is low hanging fruit.

Closing up Westwood One 

  • Sources inside Cumulus say they're going to close up Westwood One at some point soon because there is really no reason for it to exist.
  • Corporate has been nibbling around Westwood One expenses including eliminating content so it basically exists for cheap barter and remnant style spots for the station group – all of which, along with their 24/7 format division can be handled from inside Cumulus.
  • Longtime Mary Berner trusted associate Suzanne Grimes who runs Westwood One would most certainly remain – that’s one large salary Berner will not cut.

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Jerry Del Colliano is a professor at NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions Music Business Program.  His background includes Clinical Professor of Music Industry at the University of Southern California, TV, radio, program management, publishing and digital media.

My thought for the day is here.

Newstips

“George Wein and the Newport Legacy” –  NYU Professor & Music Business Program Director Larry Miller celebrates Wein’s legacy with friends and colleagues of the person who created the popular music festival model on the Musonomics podcast.