SYRACUSE -- Sportsradio 620 WHEN sports director Jim Lerch is confirmed to be among the 1,800 fired nationwide by Clear Channel today. Overall, the company says it has cut 9% of its staff. Most of the cuts reportedly came from sales, but quite a few, like Lerch, came from the programming side.
Many national trades are reporting the highest-ranked victim is corporate Senior VP of news/talk/sports Gabe Hobbs, who is on the hunt for a new job for the first time in 25 years. National sources like R&R, AllAccess and Radio-Info.com are also reporting a number of other notable cuts in larger markets -- ranging from PDs and OMs to morning hosts and imaging directors.
Earlier today, CNYRadio.com reported WHEN program director and afternoon co-host Jim "the Manchild" Lerch was laid off in Syracuse, and late this afternoon, that report was confirmed by the Syracuse Post-Standard. Sources also confirm WHEN producer Ty Doyle was let go. Still unconfirmed are reports that B104.7 (WBBS) promotions director Carole Fargo, several salespeople, and an unspecified number of part-timers were also shown the door.
If you can confirm these or any other additional cuts (or if you happen to be among them), please let us know via e-mail or our contact form. All sources will be kept confidential, unless you state otherwise. And at your request, we'd be more than happy to post your name and contact information in the hopes it may help you to find new work.
According to AllAccess.com, Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays issued this e-mail memo to staffers at about 3:00 this afternoon:
As I've mentioned previously, we are facing an unprecedented time of distress in the general economy – and the ripple effects have hit some of our largest customers hard.
Today, we had the unpleasant task of bringing our Outdoor and Radio businesses’ staffing in line with these challenging economic conditions. In doing so, we enter 2009 as a solid company and in the most competitive position possible.
We have thought carefully and at some length about the steps we need to take as a company to succeed during this unprecedented downturn. As a result, we have eliminated approximately 1,850 positions across Corporate, Outdoor and Radio. While a significant portion of these positions represent a realignment in our sales departments, the positions span all departments and represent approximately 9% of the total Clear Channel Communications workforce.
One of the things that has kept Clear Channel strong throughout our history is a willingness to deal with difficult situations in an immediate way -- to make the tough decisions today in order to secure a strong future. It is this trait that has gone furthest in enabling us to weather many difficult downturns in our 37-year history. It always requires clarity, collaboration and courage.
Please know that these have been difficult decisions -- yet necessary ones. We will miss those who are departing -- even as we renew our shared commitment to success among all of us who will stay.
Everyone in our investor group, on the Board, and in the executive leadership team remains bullish about the long-term growth prospects for Clear Channel. We continue to believe that the Outdoor and Radio businesses offer excellent opportunities.
We need to remain highly entrepreneurial and innovative. We also need to remain focused and compassionate. If we continue to manage our business carefully, and invest with discipline in the right strategic opportunities, we will navigate this downturn effectively and emerge even stronger and better positioned when things improve.
Starting now, it is our ability to bring creative thinking to the current business climate - to focus on the benefits we deliver for customers - to show extreme focus and commitment -- that will create results.
Clear Channel Communications has more resources than any of our peers. The tools are here. The support is here. It's time to use them to create lasting competitive advantage for our customers - and for our company.
Please know that we continue to be extraordinarily appreciative of all of the passion and hard work that each of you continues to commit to this phenomenal business. We will get through this together.
We're in this together. We have the best team. And we all have important work to do.
As we head into the New Year, I know we will meet the oncoming challenges with focus, determination and grace.
Please let me or your management team know if you have any questions.
AllAccess also says it has asked Clear Channel if further cuts are expected. Rather than giving a solid yes or no answer, the company said it "will continue to watch the advertising and economic situations closely."
We've also received a copy of the following memo issued by Clear Channel Radio CEO/President John Hogan:
Today has been a difficult day companywide as we addressed the economic realities affecting our country and many other companies. While separating from colleagues is personally difficult, the changes we have made were carefully considered and are necessary and prudent business decisions.
We are choosing to change as the environment around us changes and will begin work today on re-engineering our operations to successfully compete today, tomorrow and in the future. The challenges will be many -- we continue to see softness in the advertising market; we continue to compete with all forms of media for both audience and advertising dollars; and we continue to have to do both in a way that's smarter, faster and more effective.
But, there are three very important things that we have going for us. Clear Channel Radio has the resources, the will and the plan to compete going forward. Our deep bench of talent and intellectual capital will drive Clear Channel Radio through this downturn and ensure our ability to emerge from it faster, stronger and better than ever.
In recessions, there is a flight to quality by advertisers, and Clear Channel Radio offers the highest quality by any measure.
-- Radio continues to have the largest, most desirable audience of any media. Better than broadcast television. Better than cable. Better than newspapers. Clear Channel Radio operates more top-ranked stations and digital sites in our local markets than any other broadcaster. We have the top syndicated talent on the air and online in our Premiere Radio Networks company.
-- Clear Channel Radio also continues to have the most desirable digital properties in the country. From our streaming broadcasts to our on-demand content to our mobile applications like iheartradio, our brands are gaining audience daily in the most coveted demographics and platforms.
-- Clear Channel Radio, in partnership with our Premiere Radio Networks and Katz Media Group colleagues, is part of the world's largest and most effective radio advertising network by any measure.
Recessions also favor the forms of marketing and advertising that give the highest return on investment. We clearly have the opportunity to take market share away from broadcast television, cable and newspapers in this economy.
As we move forward, please know that you have the support and commitment of everyone on the Clear Channel Radio management team. We have the best resources of any radio company – and we have the will to win. Please join me for an important all-staff webinar on Wednesday morning for which your Market Manager will provide details.
Thank you for your efforts and support.
Pres. & CEO
Being Said Elsewhere:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those on these lists (and many more we haven't heard about). Special thanks to those of you who helped to keep us informed of Tuesday's happenings -- as promised, your names will never be revealed to anyone.
CNYRadio.com always posts job openings free of charge. More now than ever, we encourage GMs, OMs, PDs and sales managers to send along your job openings... the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. (And hey, it's another recruitment source you can add to your station public file reports!)
[...] information for the following markets can be found here: Minneapolis, Jacksonville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Ohio, Detroit, San Diego, Baltimore/Washington and [...]
In the wake of yesterday's Clear Channel Slaughter--New Rules!
When 2009 covenants can't be met, taxpayer owned (or owed) banks should seize the stations and/or groups which they funded and transfer the facilities in FCC sanctioned public auctions to local interests. In such transactions, former employees would receive special consideration, including the opportunity to be considered for SBA Federal loans, to not only gain control, but participate in common, community oriented ownership.
Details to be determined.
Nothing to it but to do it.
Peter C. Cavanaugh
Fifty Years in Radio
Glenn Beck has mentioned a few times that local TV station advertising revenue is down by as much as 70%, wouldn't be surprised if radio is seeing similar issues which would explain the need for the cutbacks. Although there certainly has been no lack of commercials, once in a while someone's not on the ball at WSYR and forgets to cut out the syndicator feed when running the local stuff and plays both simultaneously.