Latest Radio Management Tactics Exposed

The CEOs of many of radio’s top companies today are getting away with running roughshod over people, advertisers and listeners because, well – they can.

The system is skewed toward the equity owners who cry poor mouth in court at the same time they brag about expanding their industry conquests.

The courts allow it.

The FCC goes along.

Congress is willing to be manipulated and the net result is an industry mercilessly held by equity owners who aren’t held accountable to anyone.

This morning I thought I would share with you just how out of whack this unbridled power is.

Win A Trip With Our Market Manager

Example, from a Cumulus repeater reporter:

“Our market manager has my program director's girlfriend (who hosts our sister stations morning show) spying on what time we arrive and leave. Phony Facebook and MySpace accounts have been created to lure you into friend only to learn they really weren't set up by your friend at all...but the same spy. My voicemail has been hacked...twice. The Carnival Cruise we used to host for our listeners is now being hosted by our General Manger. The promos sound great...'Cruise with a station representative'...what a joke.”

Used to be listeners wanted to go on a cruise with a station dj but apparently the geniuses at Cumulus have figured out that the number one attraction is to listen to a voice tracked programming and go on a cruise with the market manager!

I must have missed that memo.

My, have things changed in consolidated radio.

Bankruptcy, NextMedia Style

Haven’t learned to love bankruptcy yet?

Used to think it was a dirty word?

Not anymore – at least not at NextMedia.

The latest Chapter 11 plan for NextMedia was filed recently. Look at the benefits:
  • $127.5 million in what is termed “exit” financing.
  • A “Management Incentive Plan” that lets the execs that ran the company into the ground stay on and get rewarded with the potential of owning 14% of all the common stock going forward while NextMedia transfers its debt to its lenders for operational control
  • First Lien holders get paid in full ($162.4 million)
  • Second Lien debt holders get 95% of the common equity (Class A stock). Strategic Value Partners and Angelo Gordon & Company get two-thirds of the new Class B stock, in exchange for a $55 million investment.
It pays to go bankrupt in radio.

We Sue, You Pay

What kind of legal mind does it take to force their employees to sign a contract and at the same time get these employees to sign off on a clause that could ruin them?

Listen to this person who has seen it first hand:

“…In EVERY Cumulus contract I have seen, their standard language includes the employee being responsible for their own attorney's fees AND THE COMPANY'S attorney's fees on ANY litigation concerning the contract NO MATTER WHO IS IN VIOLATION!

It is insane that anyone would sign a deal like this, but hundreds do. That essentially gives the Dickey's free reign to violate any part of the deal they want because their response is, "go ahead, sue us...YOU will pay OUR attorney's

Can you imagine Emmis trying this stunt?

Or Bonneville?

Or Cox?

Not on your life. The good operators are people friendly.

More Time Out of Work

This former Cumulus manager writes:

“Apparently some of those in certain markets who were still employed with (Cumulus) and already had N/C (non-competes) with (Cumulus), didn't seriously mind signing a new non-compete.

Oooops! They should have read the fine print! Their old N/C were 6 months, the new expanded ones are for 12 months. . . after severance”.

One Man Radio Station

I know of a market manager who was promoted from General Sales Manager with a pay cut by one radio operator.

He then lost his sales manager and was not allowed to hire another one.

I’m not making this up.

He also handles all the major agency accounts for his cluster, runs promotions, does sales training (or at least what the company tries to pass off as sales training) and produces local commercials with no production department (cut backs, remember).

Did I mention that I am not making this up?

The market manager is still working for the company but I can give you a hint, the company name starts with a “C” and he is having his nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Can’t say his name because they may retaliate by giving him another job – at an additional pay cut.

Hey FCC, Here’s Your Local Radio!

From the lips of a repeater reporter to your ears:

“Living 55 miles north of NYC in Pound Ridge (No. Westchester County) NY, I listen to WINE, 940 am Danbury, Connecticut between 10 am & noon daily for the Colin Cowherd program until it gets picked up by 1050 WEPN, ESPN’s NYC affiliate. For the last six months or so management must be dealing with a grievance against the squirrel that runs the treadmill that powers the transmitter as about once a week there’s no signal.

Zip. Zero. Just a carrier.

This may last as long as an hour or more…

Even when they’re on, it’s a joke.

Every other break features a promo trampling all over a commercial spot or another promo. And it goes on so long that it’s obvious that there’s no one is monitoring the station.

Last week at the end of a stop-set a music vocal that was demonstrably louder than Colin played for a ½ minute or more before it finally ran out.

The idea that WINE might advise So. Western Connecticut listeners of the monumental snow storm that was imminent never seemed to pass management filters”.

It may all come out as right-sizing in the press, but the real story is that radio has been severely compromised by cutbacks that cover up managements inability to run the business.

I get it that some consolidators want to run cheap national programming in lieu of live local radio. They are misguided.

But I don't get why these same radio companies are so mean to the employees who know more about running a radio operations than they do.

Oh, I get it.

That's it!

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