COVID-19 Continues To Kill Jobs

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COVID-19 continues to take its toll on companies, big and small, across the United States. From mom-and-pop restaurants that have had to limit capacity for months to Disney which announced it was laying off 28,000 employees this morning. Radio is no different.

CEO Bob Pittman and CFO Richard Bressler informed iHeart employees this week that some employees that were furloughed earlier in the year will not be returning. COVID-19 was the reason given. “The downturn has been deeper and longer than originally expected and while some furloughed employees have been brought back, the jobs of others on furlough will be eliminated.”

The exact number of positions being eliminated was not mentioned in the memo.

The new work-from-home reality is also contributing to a changing workplace, according to Pittman and Bressler. “It is also apparent that, as a result of changed work habits and so much work still being done from home, we will not need all the jobs we once had; we will be working in new ways going forward and must align our organization with the future.”

iHeart began to restructure the company back in February before the virus gripped the nation. Beasley, Cumulus and Entercom announced furloughs and layoffs in April, Hubbard made cuts in May, other companies in the industry followed. It will be nearly impossible to calculate how many total jobs were lost due to the virus and how many did or will return. There’s no doubt that every company has figured out how to operate more efficiently as a result of the pandemic and that will most likely continue for many of them into the future.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t be fooled, Pittman is thanking god about covid, he, like cumulus were well into
    Figuring out ways to thin the herd and covid gave them a perfect excuse to hide behind. This was calculated and when they saw an opportunity to
    Hide behind they jumped right in and knew most “furloughed” positions would never return. This is paramount to political jabber and just lip service. Pittman cares no more about his people or their lively hood than he does about what fancy dinner he will have served to him ever night. He’s always been a clown, he will always be a clown and he has destroyed not only iheart but put a bad taste for radio in the air….

    • Your emotionally-charged comments are out of line. Bob Pittman is the Gold Standard of radio. He has led iHeart through bankruptcy, and has put through many innovations. Bob launched the iHeart app, that put iHeart into the modern-day digital era. Where would iHeart be without Bob’s leadership?

      • You are either Bob Pittman or one of his cronies. He’s single handedly automated radio and taken the element of people out of the equation and ruined livelihoods … explain how that’s good for anyone but the shareholders? Live and local no longer exists with iHeart.

  2. CEO Bob Pittman and CFO Richard Bressler were quoted as saying, “We are going to keep firing everyone until we turn this company around.”

  3. The station where I work costs over 3 million a year to keep on the air. Revenue is north of 9 mil. Are there no local owners who want to run a business that clears $6 million a year?

    • Good point, and yes of course there are potential new local owners on the sidelines right now. It’s all about the price of the radio station. And as iHeart and some other large corporate groups continue to fail, and if they are forced into liquidation, station prices will plummet. That will open the door for new, responsible and committed local owners again.

      • They could have bought the heritage FMs that went to EMF, but didn’t. Why? Are they waiting to get these stations for free? That’s not going to happen.

        • Normally, BigA, you have relevant and mostly valuable observations to make and things to say, but the above two comments are strike-outs. That’s okay…we all have bad days where we just can’t get it right…

  4. You have to wonder what Pittman is really saying… that is, how many more iHeart employees is he planning to lay off? No one saw this pandemic coming, obviously. And with ad revenues cratering and months more of Covid ahead, can iHeart – with billions still in debt even after bankruptcy 2 years ago – survive all this, or will they be forced to liquidate and sell off their radio stations? And would this see the return of local station owners ? (if they can buy iHeart stations for pennies on the dollar.) Historical times, for sure.

    • If there were any local people who would want to buy radio stations, you wouldn’t have EMF buying heritage stations in NY DC and Boston. There are no “local owners” and that pipe dream went up in smoke 20 years ago.

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