The Redickulus Cumulus Employee Spying Program

Recently, I wrote a piece called "The Dickey Ding Dong School of Management" in which I commented on a memo they issued to employees that seemed to me to be disingenuous at best and abusive at worst.

Then, I heard from a reader who said he worked for Cumulus and that at a subsequent half-hour corporate sales meeting (more commonly called a spy session) using cameras and Skype, a loyal foot soldier from Dickeydom supposedly addressed my comments one by one.

I have no way of knowing for sure because Lew Dickey has yet to wire my house or office for spy cameras. But he sure as hell has given new meaning to the term "Big Brother" at Cumulus.

This all got me to thinking that if Cumulus is going to dispute my critique of the way they treat, help and respect their employees, then it might be nice if I could provide a script for their next spy meeting.

It's kind of surprising because Cumulus corporate email blocks Inside Music Media every day so how is management getting it? Their employees can read it at home, but is Lew peeking?

Oooh! Never you mind.

I'll bet Cumulus employees would like my version of a 30-minute meeting and I'm going to give my blessing to Lew and his crowd to steal anything they like -- just change those abusive and useless spy-in-the-sky sales meetings.

How are they going over with Cumulus inmates who are forced to sit in on them?

Here are some comments from a reader who says he works for Cumulus:

"We all live with the fear from management...

"Our managers seem to live in the same fear from Atlanta because its the only way I can explain their abusive nature."

"The F bomb is freely dropped and we were told to be on alert and watch what we say in case the camera is on. (maybe management should use Cumulus approved language)".

The abuse apparently doesn't end with spy meetings, one reader claims that when Gary Pizzati visited his station. Well, let me let him tell it...

"In one of his visits, he was going on about what we should do and how and he did not care about feelings or emotions and proudly announced that he is the man who 'makes women cry'... and was serious... how condescending can you get? He also said when he is watching on skype it drives him crazy when women twirl their hair and men scratch their means they are not paying attention. Sr reps are dropping like flies we are all looking. Maybe the robots are good for them... (hey robots don't cry)".

Again, I wasn't there but nonetheless there appears to be no shortage of Cumulus workers who are not responding well to the apparent arrogance and harsh tactics being employed by the Imperial Happy Family.

So, let's give the Dickeys a new way to conduct their next spy-in-the-sky meeting. After all, if they are going to quote me by name at their meetings, quote this:

1. Open the meeting by announcing that Lew Dickey and brother John are going to relinquish their salaries and compensation plans this year and work for $1 (about what their management skills are worth to Cumulus shareholders currently). Other corporate CEOs do it before they ask employees to sacrifice. Come on, Lew. You'll have a very attentive, happy and responsive captive audience for the rest of your meeting.

2. Announce that Jon Pinch will be paid less than what he is worth -- after a round of hearty laughter, Lew can add, "but it is more than our stock price". You'll have them rolling on the floor, Lew. But you've got their attention.

3. Announce that effective immediately you will no longer be telling salespeople what categories to work or how many sales calls to make or how to role-play their skills. Instead, tell them you are going to be available to provide non-binding ideas, help, copy, talent sources and expertise in special retail areas. No more telling them what it's like on the street when you're behind a desk. Tell them, "we're here to help" not obstruct.

4. Next, inform them they will no longer be punished if a client does not pay on time -- meaning, salespeople who took a haircut on their commissions because of late pay in the past will simply get paid when the station does. I'm sure they will see this as fair. Nothing punitive from now on.

5. Rescind the corporate edict to increase ad rates for the best advertisers. Your sales staff may get up on their feet and even give you a standing ovation. Your best advertisers are also having a recession. Now is not the time to put a needless hurt on them because you overpaid for your radio stations and can't come up with the interest payments.

6. Reveal that each and every salesperson will now get a one-sheet from the manager which states clearly what is expected of them in terms of job description and revenue as well as your deal for them -- commission, health care, vacation, etc.

7. Apologize for complaining about corporate problems at your weekly meetings as you did in the "Ding Dong School" memo. You, Lew, got Cumulus into trouble not your talented people. Effectively immediately tell them you are going to be a big boy, grow up and take responsibility for your bad decisions and that you promise not to take it out on your employees again.

8. Go around the room (we know, you can see everyone) and thank each person one by one by name. If you don't include some evidence of what you are thanking them for, then it will be but mere empty flattery. If you don't know their names... see, what I mean?

Now, Lew, if you're not willing to do it my way -- then continue to do it your way even though it is going over with your employees like a lead balloon.


Tear down those cameras and treat your employees with the respect they deserve.

How would you like to have them spying on you?

Wait a minute!

Move over Jon & Kate, here's your new reality sideshow.

Maybe we can call it, "Lew Dickey: It's Complicated".

Or "Big Brother".

Or "American Idle".

The reason everyone is laughing at you is because you ran Cumulus into the ground, almost bankrupted your shareholders, made your people pay for it and now you look silly playing Donald Trump.


That's it!

"Celebrity Apprentice".

And You're Fired!

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