The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

06 May 2006

Cumulus Media Takeover, Susquehanna Radio

RADIO'S NEW 'GRAVEYARDS'

At Newly-Acquired Stations, Headcount Massacres





Recognizing that companies sometimes need to reduce staffing levels in order to remain competitive, your Radio Equalizer is a supporter of free- market capitalism.

In the case of Atlanta-based Cumulus Media's takeover of Susquehanna Radio's properties (in Dallas- Fort Worth, Kansas City, San Francisco, York, Houston, Atlanta and elsewhere), however, let's call it what it is: an unprecedented headcount chainsaw massacre.

As one insider spelled it out, "I now work inside a graveyard."

In order to meet unrealistic post-takeover goals, Cumulus has slashed everything in sight, including essential personnel in the engineering and IT departments. Promotions, on-air imaging, production, you name it, all have now been efficiently exterminated.

What will keep these stations on the air?

Compared with Air America's corporate bloat, it's the opposite extreme.

In my latest Inside Radio column, we take a look at what it's like to function in broadcasting's newest ghost towns.

For these stations, does Cumulus have any intention of building prosperous futures? Or will they be flipped faster than a new highrise condo in South Florida?

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2 Comments:

  • This is just another example of Telecom 96--signed into law by Clinton by the way.

    Here in CT, Cumulus' lone news/talk station is WICC 600 in Bridgeport, which has been on the air for 80 years. In addition to national talk hosts like Clark Howard, Jim Bohannon, Kim Komando and some of the TRN crew, they air local talk shows mid-morning and afternoon drive.

    There's some music on weekends which would be described as classic hits/oldies--saved mainly for weekend mornings with Al Warren, who has been with the station for a long, long time. Their morning man is John LaBarca, who also hosts the Italian House Party on Sundays.

    WLAD 800 in Danbury, owned by Berkshire Broadcasting, airs more current AC music, but mainly to supplement in addition to Dr. Laura, Dr. Joy Browne and Troubleshooter Tom Martino. 'LAD also bulks up on sports from high school football to UCONN to the NFL and the Yankees.

    WICC used to air Boortz and Savage--but now airs something in the evening called Main Street WICC--mainly advice on stuff like law, car repairs and any live local talk shows tend to focus on Bridgeport and vicinity. A few years ago they had an hour-long newscast "The WICC Midday News Monitor." At one point WICC almost sounded like Cox-owned WSTC-WNLK. Their current imaging for news includes WICC News Now--the News Now was used by WHJJ Providence

    WICC airs sports including the Yankees and UCONN basketball.

    I'm just wondering if WICC will be affected by this in some capacity?

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 06 May, 2006 23:23  

  • "I also think they're at the vanguard with respect to their online strategies,and quite
    frankly, that's an area where we were sorely lacking," Dickey allowed.

    Lew was spinnin, spinnin, spinnin to Billboard Monitor today. (see quote above) If his lips are movin he's Spinnin. The quote begs the question. If Susquehanna was the Vanguard and its an area that soley lacking. WHY THE BLOOD BATH! Interactive folks were mowed down from coast to coast. Whos running the systems.Whats the strategy. It was a neutron bomb the people are all gone but the servers are running. For NOW!

    By Blogger blowncapacitor, at 10 May, 2006 00:20  

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