How to End Radio "Layoffs"

What would you think of a radio CEO who called a meeting of his or her employees to float this idea?

What if everyone took a pay cut to keep everyone else working?

No layoffs (the consolidation term for firing).

Stay with me here -- I know this sounds like sheer fantasy but I have a surprise for you.

The CEO acknowledges the importance of the traffic directors, secretaries, program directors, managers, sales executives and sales people -- stating that the company would just not operate right without everyone working at their jobs.

Bet you think this couldn't happen in radio, an industry troubled by a declining economy and not-too-smart leadership?

Well, you might be right.

But the recently, Paul Levy, the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston did just that.

He acknowledged at a public meeting that the lower wage earners (the ones who change the sheets, serve the food, clean up the building) were vital to their hospital.

Levy told the group he wanted to float an idea (as reported in the The Boston Globe) before them:

"I'd like to do what we can to protect the lower-wage earners - the transporters, the housekeepers, the food service people. A lot of these people work really hard, and I don't want to put an additional burden on them.

"Now, if we protect these workers, it means the rest of us will have to make a bigger sacrifice," he continued ... It means that others will have to give up more of their salary or benefits."

According to The Boston Globe, Levy received a thunderous and sustained ovation. He was choked up at the response and received many emails subsequently.

Radio CEOs who have been terrorizing their employees with firings leave out the option of taking a communal pay cut. And forget the part about how valuable the employees have been to the company. Hell, some employees claimed they didn't receive their personal belongings in a timely fashion after being shamefully fired and then escorted right to the door.

There is no doubt in my mind -- absolutely no doubt -- that radio people who rally around each other can keep as many folks working as possible.

This is particularly timely right now as Clear Channel, Citadel and Cumulus get ready for their next wave of firings and other groups continue to eliminate jobs and assets methodically and continually.

It either has never occurred to the radio CEOs who run this business to come up with such an offer or taking a reduced salary is not enough to cover up for their financial mismanagement (i.e, taking on more debt than they can manage, etc).

While Beth Israel will continue to operate with the majority of its employees doing their jobs, the radio industry could be doing the same.

Because CEOs like Mark Mays, Lew Dickey and Fagreed Suleman don't know what it is like to be out of work, it appears as if they have grown insensitive to the human condition.

As the Globe article points out, Levy, the hospital CEO, is giving new meaning to the term CEO -- Chief Empathy Officer.

In radio CEO means Chief Elimination Officer.

One preserves assets.

The other squanders them.

In both cases the assets are people.

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