As the global health crisis continues to transform nearly every aspect of radio operations and sales, new data illuminates the extent of the changes. Three in four respondents (75%) to an informal Inside Radio readership poll say their company or station has either required or encouraged all employees, except on-air personnel, to work from home. More than half (53%) say they are required and 22% are encouraged to work remotely, apart from on air talent and producers. Another 19% say they are taking it on a case-by-case basis.
The findings are based on an online poll of hundreds of Inside Radio readers conducted from March 23-March 24.
“[We] require all employees to work from home, except for a select few across all departments to hold down the building,” said one respondent. Another reader said their station has implemented staggered schedules with some people working from home and others coming in daily. One participant said “anyone who can, should, and we are working on it for everyone.”
But it’s not just sales people working from an off-site location. Nearly six in 10 poll participants (58%) indicated at least some of their on-air talent are working from a remote location, such as their home, and 13% said all their talent are working off site. Still others indicated they are preparing for their full airstaff to work from home.
“Only essential on-air personnel are reporting for work. Sales and business office are working from remote locations,” said one typical response. Added another: “AEs working remotely, only essential staff in and working shorter hours and distancing.”
In an indicator of how companies are responding to protect their bottom line, one respondent said all non-essential employees have been furloughed without pay.
Clients cancelling their ad campaigns or making extensive copy changes have become the new normal – at least for now. The vast majority (69%) of Inside Radio readers who took the unscientific poll report they’ve had numerous cancellations; 20% said they had a few cancellations but nothing major. However, nearly four in ten (38%) said advertisers are staying on the air while requiring copy/creative changes. And 18% reported picking up new clients dusting the crisis, which is something radio has experienced in previous disasters, such as major hurricanes and extreme flooding.
“Specific clients with time sensitive sales have put those plans on hold,” offered one reader. Another described “maybe a 20% drop due to cancellations” with “minimal additions.” One respondent, working at a non-commercial station, said business underwriting “has seen a few cancellations, probably totaling 15-20%.” Said another, “We lost approximately $12,000 or more from High School/State College sports cancellations and thousands more from St. Patrick's Day and other spring event cancellations.” However some poll participants said there have been no ad cancellations and only a few copy changes.
More from our reader poll on COVID-19’s impact in Thursday morning’s Inside Radio.