Cumulus Cares

I get how the major consolidators want to dilute local radio in favor of a cheaper national platform.

And how they see hundreds of their radio stations serving as cheap price point delivery vehicles for major advertisers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart.

I get it, but I don't like it.

It's shortsighted and eventually destructive to the radio industry.

But what I don't get is the mean gene that the three leading unemployers in the radio industry possess.

Take Cumulus.


So terminator Gary Pizzati arrives at a sales meeting in Fayetteville, NC Wednesday morning. You may remember Pizzati who, according to accounts from some Cumulus employees, doesn't burden himself with Dale Carnegie human relations techniques.

But on that morning, Pizzati was apparently reborn as Tony Robbins.

The sales staff reportedly sat in amazement as Pizzati tried his hand at reassuring the nervous employees assembled.

Pizzati told the sales meeting in Fayetteville that they need to have passion for their work ... their company ... their homes ... their neckties!

That's right, one person insists he told the males that they need to consider their neckties turning his visit into a necktie party of sorts as you'll soon discover.

Then, this man some consider a hard-boiled Cumulus henchman, got all warm and fuzzy and channeled Mister Rogers. I'm not making this up, I'm sure you know that by now.

Pizzati reportedly said Cumulus really cares for them -- and yes, I'm told the group of sales people had to give him credit. He said it with a straight face.

Then he told a story about how he had a report due Thursday and stayed up until midnight working to ready it before it was due and that's what these sales people needed to do.

See 12 new prospects a day.

Do the paperwork at night even if it takes until midnight (on their own time presumably without compensation).

For the sales people that hadn't vomited already, they were at least nauseated by Pizzati's threat to visit them monthly and shake the hands of their clients. I tell ya -- what a motivational speaker he was. Hitting all the right points.

If you were planning a hanging, that is.

Obviously, this meeting was the Cumulus way to play nice with veiled threats looming in the background.

What could be worst than having to sit through that meeting?

Glad you asked.

According to sources within Cumulus, the victims of the first meeting received a text message at around 4 pm from their market manager -- a man named Glen who is a former Cintas Uniform employee trying to learn his head from his --- well, you know what.

They were told that a meeting was called for 5:15 that same evening.

Guess, no one has families, children, responsibilities or lives outside of serving the Dickey Nation.

It didn't take the Fayetteville employees long to figure out what was going on as their Sales Manager was escorted out the back door.

That's right.

On the day Cumulus' answer to Tony Robbins just got finished saying Cumulus loves you, they fire the sales manager.

Now the Dickey Doo plan continues to be rolled out.

Fewer employees for repeater radio straight from your local consolidator in Atlanta.

Fayetteville's Cumulus cluster was then left with only six key account managers -- you know, the ones who rake in the commissions stolen from other sales people.

One 60+ year old with 30 years experience and a 50 year old with less than five years in the industry.

After that, the closest account exec that Cumulus cluster has experience-wise is 8 months.

The other seven anywhere from 3 days to 5 months.

This begs the question who is going to train these folks?

Or does it?

Maybe they don't need training. You train people when you want to run Cox or Bonneville, or CBS. But at Cumulus it seems the plan is to cut people, replacing the losses with scrubs and you don't train them.

Every time a cluster like Fayetteville loses someone with experience, they lose more revenue.

Not to mention the local hit to their sales reputation among advertisers and agencies for not being able to keep a staff.

What did they teach Lew Dickey at Harvard that makes him play monopoly with people's lives, deliver an inferior product to listeners, make a mockery of their FCC license responsibilities and offer less to advertisers?

I wish I could tell you this story is fantasy -- made up to get a laugh or whatever.

But it's no laughing matter to hard working Cumulus employees who are watching in fear, disbelief and sadness as Lew "Tricky" Dickey, brother John, a pinch of the other Jon and blindly ambitious hit men terrorize their ranks and diminish what was once a good radio company.

The story consolidators tell to get publicity are about finances, refinancing, deal making, consolidating and other popular topics for articles.

The real story is told by Cumulus employees who know better.

Mean management is simply a technique used by Cumulus to shrink the company, hijack the licenses from local communities and reinvent themselves as a low priced carrier of commercials with the marketplace dictating how low that price can go.

Meanwhile when it comes to decency and respect, Cumulus already knows how low they can go.

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