Radio’s Dirty Little Secrets

Have you noticed how Clear Channel is going from market to market to either eliminate or cutback expenses on local morning shows? This has been going on under the radar for several months now while President John Hogan is engaging a willing press in the thought they he could be Howard Stern’s next employer.

The Stern stuff is all fantasy made up by Hogan. Stern rebuffed his public overtures. Apparently Hogan needed Stern more than Stern needed Hogan – at least to run interference for Clear Channel’s continued extermination of morning talent.

Anyway, Hogan is just being a little shit -- playing with Mel and trying to drive the price tag up for any Stern Sirius XM renewal.

But there is a lot going on under the radar these days and the best way to shine sunlight on dastardly and cowardly treatment of good radio people is to – well, tell the world.

How Clear Channel Employees Protested Last Year’s Firings

I’ve always said even the Soviet Union couldn’t keep people behind the Berlin Wall. And now it seems the Union of Clear Channel Republics has a silent protest on their hands:

“On January 20, I spoke with a Clear Channel Market Manager who told me that most of his employees were wearing black that day. Men in black suits & black ties, women in black dresses, pants blouses. Even the engineers and on-air/production people wore black pants and t-shirts.

The Market Manager thought it was a quiet protest against the President's first year in office. No, an employee told him, ‘it's to honor the 19 people you fired on this day last year.’ I contacted 6 more CC markets and found only 1 other having the same quiet protest, but the Market Manager said his employee told him they ‘were spreading the word across CC markets and next year's protest would be bigger’”.

Cumulus Spins a Firing

When the syndicated Rickey Smiley Morning Show was added to Cumulus' Urban WEAS E93 FM in Savannah, GA, WMNX 97.3 FM in Wilmington, NC and WYNN 106.3 FM in Florence, SC the PR came out in force.

But this is the best part from the news release:

Cumulus VP of Urban Programming, Jim Kennedy adds, "This is an impact program that hits the ground from day one. The only people more excited than I am about adding Rickey Smiley are my programmers in Savannah, Florence, and Wilmington. They have been literally counting down the days."

Does he think anyone really believes the local program directors had a say in the matter?

Oh ... and Cumulus then proceeded to fire the Urban VP they forced to spit out all that bull – Jim Kennedy. Obviously, don’t go looking for a replacement.

Cumulus’ Lowest Commission Check Ever

This has to be a record!

Don’t believe it? Here it is straight from one of my repeater reporters:

“I am an ex account exec at Cumulus. My last check? $211.09 on almost $20,000 sales.”

How to Sue for Your Commissions

Here’s someone who did it twice and won – twice!

“Back in the ‘good old days’, about 18 yrs ago when consolidation was just beginning among smaller groups, I took 2 radio owners to the labor board (in a row) over commissions owed. In those days there were no pre-nups (signing away your rights to commissions beyond the day you leave work) and the California Labor Board was favorable to employees.

I did have to get a lawyer for the second one but he merely represented me in front of the board, it never went to trial. I received my money both times. After those experiences, I seriously considered writing an e-letter for broadcast employees regarding the ins and outs of the broadcast system and the legalities or illegalities of owners. The idea was inspired by Inside Radio but I never pursued it.
Nevertheless, the actions you describe (in Inside Music Media) are all illegal but those employees have to be willing to fight.

I truly believe if they can handle it, they will get their money. I was always threatened that I'd "never work in the industry again" and it was untrue. That would be a pretty empty threat nowadays as there aren't any jobs anyway. I hope you encourage the readers to stand up for their rights and take it as far as they can stomach.”

Cumulus Buying Citadel?

Here’s what a Cumulus insider heard:

“I started with Cumulus … When the higher ups flew me into Atlanta to recruit me for Market Manager, it was mentioned to me then that they had planned on buying Citadel. They've made mention of this over and over again in Manager Meetings and other discussions”.

The Dickeys are so delusionary these days that maybe that’s their fantasy sport like you and I might play fantasy baseball or hockey.

Citadel is bankrupt.

But I’ll say this (and you may not believe me) but banks really like Lew Dickey. At the right moment he could probably get the funding especially if Citadel’s new owners (the creditor banks) want to cash out.

The Dickey’s never learned from the Susquehanna purchase that they couldn’t afford. Susquehanna was a great local radio company under David Kennedy. Look what the Dickeys did to it.

And radio CEOs don’t let a little debt get in the way of their big dreams – remember Farid Suleman’s purchase of ABC stations and networks? It eventually pushed Citadel into bankruptcy but it got Suleman another contract extension.

Based on that, don’t rule a Cumulus-Citadel merger out. What’s a little debt between friends?

Rate Your Favorite Consolidator

Here’s a site called Job Vent (“Reviews of Jobs We Love and Hate”).

Cumulus gets a -21.2 rating – zero people love it and ten hate it. See the downlow on Cumulus here.

Oh, and if you ever wondered why Cumulus hires so many people from Cintas uniform company, it may be because they are unhappy with their employer as well. Access the employee ratings of Cumulus’ favorite recruitment ground here.

Clear Channel gets a -18.54 with 1 “Love it” and 12 “hate it” ratings. See the damage here.

Good news travels fast, but so does bad news. The dirty little secrets of bad radio operators are coming out.

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