Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Clear Channel Cuts Item

This item will no longer be updated tonight.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, Wednesday's first update may be a little later in the day than usual, perhaps later in the afternoon. We'll revisit "what we know" about this big day of bad employment news, add any updates, and return to our usual cycle of other news (there is some of it!) as well.

But it'll won't be "first thing in the morning".


We'll continue to update this item through the day, bringing it to the top of this blog as new updates come in.

UPDATE 1/20/09 6:50 PM: The AllAccess list now adds another Ohio layoff:

WSPD/TOLEDO sports and news reporter GLENN FORBES is gone.

UPDATE 1/20/09 6:27 PM: On the heels of the 46 layoffs at Clear Channel's Cleveland market cluster, OMW has heard a little more from elsewhere.

We're told that the company's Lima cluster laid off three sales staffers, including one with on-air experience as well.

Former rhythmic CHR WLWD/93.9 "Wild 93.9" programmer Phil Austin had returned to the station about three months ago as a salesperson and a part-time night on-air personality. We hear he's joined on the unemployment line by another local salesperson with 18 years experience at the stations, and a national sales rep.

We're still trying to find out more about what happened in Youngstown and Toledo, and we'll update as soon as we know...

UPDATE 1/20/09 3:48 PM: From our sources in suburban Cleveland, we're getting some pretty breathtaking numbers - and not in a good way.

A reliable source at Oak Tree tells us that the Clear Channel Cleveland cluster is releasing 46 employees today: 25 full-time employees and 21 part-time employees.

46 people!?!?! Yes, that's what we're hearing.

OMW can now confirm that veteran talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland news reporter Greg Saber is among the job cut victims there. We also hear two other names in programming: country WGAR/99.5 morning co-host Michelle Maloney ("Mantel and Michelle"), and hot AC WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106-5" "Brian and Joe" morning drive producer Brigette Dineen.

And, we're told, "many more". WTAM afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno just announced on the air that "over 50" of his fellow employees were laid off today. (He said he wasn't sure of the exact number.)

If this figure is even remotely accurate, that's more than some clusters employ across their entire building.

We're hearing that the bulk of those job losses at Oak Tree are in the sales, promotions and events departments, following the lead of the earlier cuts.

We haven't heard anything at this point about on-air cuts down I-77, at Clear Channel's Akron/Canton cluster on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township. We hear that long-time sales people are among those let go. Freedom Avenue runs on a pretty lean basis, with many staffers taking two and three additional positions...with a lot of voice-tracked and syndicated programming.

(Update within an update from AllAccess: "CC/AKRON-CANTON, OH Promotions Director SAM PIETRANGELO exits"...the trade site, which has now set up a constantly updated page on the topic onside, notes that CC Dayton production director Phil Brown is also out after a 15 year run...along with another voice heard on AC WLQT/99.9 "Lite 99.9", station production manager Jeff Shade.)

We're still trying to nail down the story at Clear Channel's Youngstown cluster on South Avenue. While trying to listen for any hints, we noticed that weekend/part-time host Morris Ray is filling in for WKBN/570 afternoon drive host Ron Verb. We'll assume that means Ron is in a mandatory meeting...so we won't make much of it.

But given Clear Channel's reported move towards syndicated programming, how long can the station hang onto three live-and-local weekday hosts?

Just a thought.

AllAccess quotes a "companywide email" from Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays:

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.

UPDATE 1/20/09 1:55 PM: We're getting mostly a trickle of unconfirmed information out of Clear Channel's big Northeast Ohio clusters on Oak Tree and Freedom Avenue.

We're hearing that the company's Akron/Canton cluster has cut at least four off-air staffers, mostly in the sales department.

And we have not confirmed this yet, but we hear there's at least one pretty significant cut in Clear Channel's Cleveland newsroom. We won't mention any names until we get more details.

The AllAccess Clear Channel cut list continues to be updated in place at this Microsoft Word file. The latest update includes a nod to our report on cuts at Clear Channel Columbus, listed below...

UPDATE 1/20/09 1:04 PM: Only one more name so far, courtesy of AllAccess, in the territory of our friends at Tri-State Media Watch in Cincinnati:

TOMMY LEUGERS Production from Sports WCKY-A (1530 HOMER) and Talk WLW-A/CINCINNATI is out after 14 years.

Though the information is trickling out, OMW hears from our sources that a number of these "mandatory meetings" are happening this afternoon.

AllAccess is compiling an overall national list in a Microsoft Word file, which can be downloaded from this location...

UPDATE 1/20/09 11:05 AM: OMW hears that the two programming staffers cut at Clear Channel Columbus are news/sports staffer Colin Smith, and former "Joel Riley Show" producer Ben Johnson - who initially kept his job after Riley lost his weekday show, being replaced by Premiere's Glenn Beck.

Though it's not local, AllAccess and Radio-Info.com report that Clear Channel national news/talk senior VP Gabe Hobbs is one of those on the job cut list today.


Our first numbers come in from Clear Channel's cluster in Columbus, where we're told that the cluster has let go 8 sales employees, two employees in the programming department, and 8 more part-time promotions employees. We don't have any names yet.

We're also hearing of large layoffs of sales employees over in Pittsburgh, though we don't have any confirmation (and the cluster is out of our coverage area, anyway)...


firebird said...

It's not all bad! Randall Bloomquist finally got tossed from WGST in Atlanta.

It Said said...

The numbers coming out of Cleveland are staggering..and sad..there's a lot of talent on that beach for groups to scoop up, if they choose to move..

Wondering if there are smiles on the faces of those in sales departments at the Plain Dealer..a lot fewer sales people to compete with after today.


Continue to Spread the Word!!! said...

Thank God Triv remains.
When you get the latest in Youngstown, please email: NEWS@MVRED.COM

Thank You!

thenetwork said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thenetwork said...

If the economy and the job market wasnt so bad now, I would have loved to see those who still work for the Evil Clear Channel empire, and their now-fired, former co-workers unite and all walk off together in protest.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.

Meanwhile, I hope wat goes around comes around to the heartless Mays family -- and tenfold!!!

They made a mockery of radio, and I hope they have a nice "warm" place waiting for them in the here-after, because they sure made it feel like that for those who used to work in radio, and for those who remembered when radio was fun & creative.

And to quote It Said...


thenetwork said...

I think that it is time to stage an all-out war on Clear Channel and the other mega conglomerates who have taken radio tho it's knees...

BOYCOTT the stations, call those companies who still advertise on their stations or their billboards to stop. (Just like how when Modell announced he was going to Baltimore, people pressured the Browns game sponsors to pull out, and they did -- IN DROVES!!!). And do whatever it takes to let the John & Jane Does out there know that Clear Channel and others are raping the public.

Any other ideas???