Back in April, following a series of personnel cutbacks that preceded the COVID-19 pandemic, iHeartMedia revealed that it planned to trim $250 million in costs this year. Now, the company has parted with several additional employees across multiple radio markets as part of this far-reaching reduction.
iHeartMedia recently informed the affected team members of the decision, and many of these individuals have taken to social media to comment on the unfortunate news. 101.3 KDWB’s Steve LaTart detailed the discouraging development in a tweet, for instance, and some fans are calling on iHeartMedia (and specifically the local station) to rehire him. Also in the Twin Cities market, Cities 97.1 host Hunter Quinn has been let go, and his official biography is no longer live on the station’s website.
26-year 610 WTVN veteran Joel Riley indicated that his dismissal wasn’t “performance related,” but instead stemmed from financial concerns. In a testament to the point, Brandon Boxer – who also hosts an afternoon program on 92.3 WCOL – stated on Twitter that he’s set to take over morning duties on 610 WTVN.
Per Radio Insight, other personalities on iHeartMedia stations in Wheeling, St. Louis, Toledo, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Nashville, and elsewhere have also been laid off. More than a few local fans are voicing their opposition to the cuts on social media, and the potential impact on listenership and ratings is worth following moving forward. iHeartMedia higher-ups have declined to comment on the moves and have yet to acknowledge them in a press release.
As mentioned, the COVID-fueled advertising dip that many radio stations are grappling with appears to have exacerbated iHeartMedia’s existing financial troubles. Following January’s budget-reduction effort – which encompassed replacing hundreds of human works with artificial intelligence – CEO Bob Pittman relinquished his $23 million salary, while other execs accepted pay reductions. Even so, the San Antonio-based company suffered net losses of $1.68 billion during 2020’s first quarter – including the period before the pandemic’s domestic onset.
The entity’s second-quarter revenue came in at $488 million, a 47 percent year-over-year decline that included a 57 percent broadcasting-income falloff as well as a small digital boost and a 103 percent podcast earnings hike. iHeartMedia is scheduled to release its Q3 2020 financial report (for the three months ending on September 30th) next Monday, November 9th.
On the day, iHeartMedia stock (IHRT) experienced a 1.62 percent boost, closing at $8.79 per share. While decidedly less than IHRT’s pre-coronavirus per-share worth, the figure is nearly double the $4.79 closing price that the stock touched in early April, just before detailing the initially noted plans to cut a quarter of a billion dollars in expenditures.