What It’s Like When Cumulus Takes Over a Citadel Station

We now have a clear example of how Cumulus is invading the Citadel stations it took over a month ago and making wholesale changes whether they need to be made or not.

Employees are on edge and frustrated by some of the most confounding new policies you’ve ever heard.

I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned from Citadel markets where the Dickeys have come into town with guns blazing.

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1.  What the first thing Cumulus did to the existing managers when they took over the station.  Even the managers who were outperforming their markets are forced to do this.

2.  The new normal in sales at Cumulus.  If it ain’t broke, here’s how Cumulus is fixing it anyway.

3.  Evidence that contrary to popular opinion, Cumulus is hiring.  Wait until you hear what positions they are filling.  And, don’t worry, they are still firing more folks than they hire.  It’s just taking longer.

4.  What would you do if you wanted to attract the best and the brightest – well, forget that because here’s all you need to know about the Cumulus “Open House” system for hiring inexperienced and inexpensive future employees.  

5.  What happens every other Thursday at the new Citadel stations?  No, it’s not a Skype sales meeting from Atlanta.  Think again – it’s even worse.  I’ll explain.

6.  Why unnecessary changes are being made at perfectly successful Citadel stations that have already been paired back to the fewest number of employees possible.  This gives you an idea of what the Dickeys have in store for their stations in the future.

The answers start here.

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The New Clear Channel “No Local Staff” Prototype Is Up and Running

The new “No Local Staff” model of a Clear Channel cluster is up and running in some markets and I’ve got a sobering look at one of them and what you can expect to spread across the platform.

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1.  Dramatic evidence that Clear Channel intends to run four or more stations with virtually no people.  But how?  Here it is.

2.  Walk through the mind of John Hogan or Bob Pittman – we’ll do the new math for you.  The Clear Channel station of the future is operating now and being readied in other markets and the savings are dazzling. 

3.  Which cities are immune from the Clear Channel  “No Local Staff” concept. 

4.  What Clear Channel is willing to forego that a traditional radio station would never do without.  Is anything still sacred?  Read on.

5.  How important is the morning personality now under Clear Channel’s new No Morning Show Left Behind concept.  Take this example and see.

6.  How Clear Channel is likely to roll out these new “No Local Staff” stations going forward.  And real soon.

7.  Come to understand why iHeartRadio is so important to Clear Channel – not for its programming, but for this. 

8.  You’ll now understand Clear Channel’s end game because we can now see it in operation.

The answers begin here.

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Firings Get Uglier This Week

Week two of the Cumulus bloodbath continues and the expected start of Clear Channel’s massive force reduction begins this week.

Already, a troubling pattern is emerging.

Here’s what people on the ground at both companies are saying about the next week of major force reductions at radio’s two biggest companies.

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1.  Westwood One – look out.  

2.  Metro Traffic – my sources close to the action say big changes are coming and I’ve got them for you here.

3.  Where Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey is traveling this week on the day his competitor is ready to detonate their major reductions in work force – and it’s scaring the hell of out one Cumulus cluster.  

4.  The template for Cumulus firings at Citadel going forward.  Yes, there is a trend here and it gives you an idea of what to expect when the Grim Reaper of Cumulus shows up at the door.

5.  What to expect in the week ahead if you work at Cumulus or Clear Channel.

6.  For Cumulus – will the firings escalate, who is immune from the axe at the cluster level, a new twist in severance benefits.

7.  For Clear Channel victims:  When this week’s massive firings are expected to get underway, which job categories are protected, how long will this wave of firings persist.  

The answers begin here.

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How About a 50% Music Royalty?

It’s been called the “perfect storm”.

Few talk about it, but the courts will be ruling on copyright issues that will soon radically redefine the music industry – maybe even kill off record labels as we know them.

But if you run a radio station, a streaming music service or plan to be part of the mobile future, be afraid – be very afraid.

I’ll detail the threat for you here today.

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1.  Yes, you read the headline right.  How about the prospect of musicians getting a 50% royalty payment from their labels.  So what does that mean if you’re the one paying the royalties to the record labels.  You don’t want to know.

2.  Part 2 of the “Perfect Storm” for musicians and artists – what happens in 2013 that will change the entire ecosystem of the music business.  You’ll want to know.

3.  Did you know that Bruce Springsteen, Prince and other well-known artists were employees of their record labels?  Apparently they didn’t either.  And wait until you see the cockamamie defense the labels have against their artists.  Promise me you won’t burst into laughter when you read the labels’ defense.

4.  New legislation that completes the “perfect storm” for musicians if it is enacted – but a powerful Congressman is all over it already.

5.  How NAB CEO Gordon Smith’s itchiness to cut a deal with the record labels over royalties factors in.  

6.  Why a handful of large radio groups are backing the NAB effort to make them (and every other station owner) pay more money in royalties ahead of any resolution of the artists and musicians demands.  And why local operators are united in their opposition and vehemently against the NAB sellout to the RIAA.

The answers start here.

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The Clear Channel Plan After the Firings

If you read my piece yesterday, you know the huge scale of the firings that Clear Channel will begin to implement next week.

But I’ve since learned that these are not just regular personnel cuts.  CEO Bob Pittman has a crazy plan to operate the largest radio group with the smallest staff humanly possible and he’s going to do it under the cover of his special brainchild.

Today, I’ll tell you all the details.

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1.  The best picture yet of Bob Pittman’s Blueprint for the Future – the details as gathered by observers on the ground and elsewhere.  And the slight of hand trick he plans to pull so advertisers don’t notice that he is going to kill off local radio.

2.  What will Clear Channel’s local stations look like now.  One major change means there can be no going back.  I’ll tell you all about that change and what to watch as a gauge for the future.

3.  What’s to become of the local cluster concept.  Hardly anyone talks about that, but you’ll soon see that the Pittman Master Plan threatens to alter the radio group concept like never before. 

4.  How can a group as large as Clear Channel eliminate so many programming jobs – as they are about ready to do.  It can’t just be syndicated programming to the rescue.  Here’s what we’re missing.  You’ll see it is much more.

5.  When will the Pittman plan be fully deployed.  It can’t happen overnight, right?

The answers start here.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (1,400 pieces) and get daily email delivery, click “read more” for your choices. 

Come learn with me at my February conference.  It’s $495 for early birds.  Real price is $795.  Bob Pittman is not speaking.  There are no panels.  It’s about you.  You’ll love this event – 2012 Media Solutions Lab.

Never give anyone permission to ruin your life and career.  Many broadcasters have told me my new book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” was just what they needed.  Under $10 for the paperback and popular e-readers here.

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