More details are emerging about Entercom’s companywide layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts, which CEO David Field announced Thursday morning in an email to employees. The amount of layoffs is extensive while the pay cuts are structured on an escalating scale, with higher paid employees receiving higher percentage salary reductions.
Entercom is the fourth major radio company to make extensive cuts this week in the wake of the COVID-19-fueled economic shutdown.
The company has eliminated bonuses for the first and second quarters and cut salaries between 10% and 20% for anyone earning more than $50,000 per year. Employees who make $250,000 or more will be asked to take a 20% pay cut, those making between $100,000 and $250,000 will see their salaries reduced by 15% and those in the $50,000 to $100,000 range will take a 10% cut.
Field is taking a 30% salary reduction.
“I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances,” Field said a memo to employees. “We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions.”
Field explained that “the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand.” Now as reports come in from Entercom markets, the extent of the layoffs is coming into sharper focus.
In the Philadelphia market, for example, roughly a dozen people were let go or furloughed, including Andrea Duffy, midday talent at AC “B101.1” WBEB and Casey Reed, morning co-host at hot AC WTDY-FM (96.5). “I was just informed by Entercom that due to COVID-19 my employment at 96.5 TDY has been terminated,” Reed, who joined the station in November 2018, posted to Facebook. Duffy had been with “B101.1” for seven years. Others in the cluster that were either terminated or furloughed include, sports WIP-FM (94.1) Marketing Director Cindy Webster and Promotion Director Bryan Cole; Dan Fein, Promotions Director at news KYW (1060); Bonnie Hoffman Smith, Marketing Director for the cluster’s music stations; and a number of unnamed salespeople, assistants and producers.
In Chicago, the cuts included Kenny Jay, PD of country “US99” WUSN Chicago and country sister “102.9 The Wolf” KMNB Minneapolis. Jay joined WUSN in January 2018 and previously programmed former country KMPS Seattle.
At Entercom’s corporate offices in New York, Liana Huth, Senior VP Programming Innovation and Senior Producer Jordana Kalmanowitz are out.
Others affected include Terry Foxx, PD at sports “92.9 The Game” WZGC Atlanta; Chuck Friemond longtime morning man at sports “105.7 The Fan” WSSP Milwaukee and afternoon show member Bill Schmid; Zach Duarte, Trevor Murray and Kevin Rogers at sports “790 The Ticket” WAXY Miami; and Julie DiCaro, weekend host/update anchor at “670 The Score” WSCR Chicago.
In Seattle, soft AC “94.1 The Sound” KSWD PD/Afternoon Host Smokey Rivers is out; Aaron Carreno, who hosted mornings at hot AC “Mix 105.1” WMHX Madison and afternoons at hot AC “99.1 The Mix” WMYX-FM Milwaukee was dismissed as was Ryan Gibbons, Morning Show Producer at CHR “103.7 Kiss-FM” WXSS Milwaukee.
In what is now becoming a common industry practice, Entercom has suspended its 401(k) program employee match. The company earlier announced that it was curtailing shareholder dividends and had drawn cash from its revolver credit loan to provide financial flexibility.
Field said the company hopes to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and its 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter.
Entercom is the latest radio company to institute layoffs or furloughs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week alone, Beasley Media Group announced numerous layoffs, furloughs and temporary pay cuts; Townsquare Media implemented a reduction in force that saw 65 employees let go. And iHeartMedia implemented a 90-day furlough for jobs that have been deemed non-essential due to its pullback from live events and shift to a work-from-home model. In each case, senior executives took pay cuts ranging from 10% to as high as 100% for iHeart CEO Bob Pittman.
Following is the full memo Field sent to employees:
To: Entercom Team
From: David Field
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Subject: Important Company Update
Thank you for your resilience, dedication and fortitude as we manage through the extraordinarily challenging and disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all doing our best to ensure that our loved ones remain safe and healthy while working tirelessly to serve our listeners, customers, and communities. I am deeply appreciative of everything you are doing to keep us moving forward under these difficult conditions. We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times.
Unfortunately, the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand. Our nation is facing unprecedented disruption that has shut down countless businesses and entire industries, including many of our customers. This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues. We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.
I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances. We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions. In order to make the transition less painful for our colleagues, we will be providing up to an extra month of additional severance for those individuals for whom their normal severance and the recently announced enhanced federal unemployment benefits provide less support. In addition, we will be providing enhanced employee benefits for furloughed team members.
We will also be taking other cost reduction actions at this time, including the temporary suspension of our dividend and our 401(k) Company match, the elimination of Q1 and Q2 bonuses, and temporary salary reductions of between 10% and 20% for anyone earning a salary in excess of $50,000 per year. I will be taking a 30% salary reduction. We hope to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and our 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter. I very much appreciate the sacrifice that people will be making in these difficult times.
We will get through this crisis and put this all behind us. Better days lie ahead. With the tough but necessary actions we are now taking, we are doing what is required for us to preserve the health of the company and ensure that we are strong when we get to the other side. Our future is further protected by our strong financial position with substantial cash reserves and virtually no debt due before 2024. And when the crisis abates, we look forward to resuming our growth and building on our strong strategic position as a leader in the audio business, including the best lineup of local radio stations in the United States.
I deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment and look forward to better times ahead.
We will be following up with additional information shortly.