iHeart Prepping for 1 Live Body Per Market

  • In the wake of iHeart’s first wave of firing over 1,000 employees, there is a plan afoot to further cutdown the number of people in their 850+ markets.
  • What’s significant is that iHeart’s apparent plan calls for the removal of even more local management and talent.
  • Where do market managers fit in – iHeart has a plan for that.
  • What about regional execs – iHeart has a history of juggling regionals around but we are learning of a change there, too.
  • There’s only one really secure job at iHeart right now and if you don’t have it, you’re likely gone eventually as the move is on to downsize the largest radio group.

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iHeart Day 2: Programming Takes a Big Hit

Bob Pittman must have no shame. 

On the day he gives the go-ahead to axe over 1,000 employees, his press release promotes the company and attempts to justify these people losing their jobs.

“Excellence centers” as replacements for arguably the most excellent large radio group on a local station basis.

Over 1,000 firings are underway with programming virtually eviscerated.  It’s not about excellence, it’s about the sudden need to drastically cut expenses.

What we know is how far iHeart is going to go, who will be spared for now and the reason for the sudden rush to end so many careers.

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Over 1,000 iHeart Firings Starting Today

This is the worst reduction in force at one time ever even going back to iHeart’s Clear Channel days.

And even though I have been warning of what iHeart will look like under Liberty Media’s ownership, if radio had a Richter Scale, what iHeart is about to set into motion is a 10.

What’s worse, once iHeart does something, the lemmings at Entercom, Cumulus and elsewhere are not likely to continue to have a mind of their own.

iHeart is going to eliminate, consolidate and centralize on a massive level at one time.

The markets that are most vulnerable (and that’s about 85% of them) are going to be devastated – there’s no other word for it.

All this as the Liberty takeover looms and we get a real look at what the radio industry will be like as part of a multi-media platform.

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Major Staff Cuts Set at Cox

Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

One of the best run, humane family media companies is set to become Clear Channel Lite.

You’re thinking of a few beginning of the year adjustments in staff?

They’re thinking bigger.

As we informed subscribers a few months ago, once the deal went through to sell Cox’s media division to Apollo Global Management, the new private equity owners had their own plans.

The specifics are ugly for managers, PDs and a certain category of skilled Cox people who have made it such an excellent company.

So, the question is how badly are they going to wreck this excellent company and in particular, the radio division?

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Fishy Departure of Cumulus CFO

As predicted, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner allowed CFO John Abbot to fall on his sword yesterday and leave the company.

No immediate replacement is being named.

All of this plus Cumulus’ increasing tendency to adjust revenue figures and “paint lipstick on a pig” has led to speculation that either Abbot won’t put up with it any longer and he resigned or Abbot wouldn’t put up with it any longer and his contract was not renewed.

In either case, investors should be prying their eyes wide open on this one because it means something more than just a personnel change.

In spite of Berner’s happy talk about Abbot no longer having to make the long commute to Atlanta, the real story is scary different.

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