Responding to the significant economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Townsquare Media implemented a reduction in force that saw 65 employees let go on Monday. The staffers included 26 corporate employees with the rest spread out across the company’s 67 local markets. In addition, Townsquare has suspended its 401K company match, effective April 1.
In addition to the layoffs, nearly 20 senior executives have volunteered to take a 10% temporary pay reduction. Executives taking the pay cut include CEO Bill Wilson, CFO Stu Rosenstein, COO Erik Hellum, Senior VP of Human Resources Alyssa Goldberg, Executive VP of Finance Operations & Technology Scott Schatz, Executive VP of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications Claire Yenicay, Executive VP & General Counsel Chris Kitchen, Senior VP of Programming Kurt Johnson and Senior VP of Digital Jared Willig, among others.
Like other companies, Townsquare is feeling the brunt of advertiser cancellations due to parts of the U.S. economy virtually shutting down from government restrictions to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. April in particular is expected to especially troublesome.
Among those let go on the local market level are account execs, on-air personnel, digital employees, directors of sales, engineers and other positions. “The decision to let these employees go was based on a number of factors, the most important being my belief that reducing our overall workforce was necessary to protect our business and the remaining team moving forward,” Wilson said in a companywide memo late Monday afternoon.
Wilson also hinted that the company may need to make other expense reductions, depending on how the economic situation plays out, but that his goal is not to do another workforce reduction.
The RIFs and other changes were announced in a companywide email and conference call late Monday attended by 1,700 employees.
In the memo, Wilson pointed out that “the economic impact on our business has been significant over the past 2 weeks,” including the cancellation of all live events in the coming months, resulting in millions of dollars of lost revenue. But the company is not experiencing a revenue decline in its Townsquare Interactive unit, which provides digital marketing services to local advertisers.
Wilson noted that gyms, certain retail, nail and hair salons and other categories have pressed pause on their ad campaigns while other categories are increasing their spend, or advertising with the company for the first time, such as sanitizing companies, public health departments and restaurants offering dine out options.
“The key to overcoming the challenge we face is to bond together as we always have as a strong Townsquare Team,” Wilson said in the memo. “Over the past two years, your work has translated to industry leading performance. During this crisis, together as a team we will leverage our bond and do what is best for our listeners, our communities and our clients.”