Thursday, February 7, 2008

Radio: CBS Translation - Cut Budgets Severely

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled blog for this bulletin chock-full of facts, conjecture and unsubstantiated opinions.

On Tuesday, Emmis Communications eliminated 46 jobs at their stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, and Austin. It averaged out to a hair more than four and half percent of their total work force.

Here’s their explanation for the cuts: "Like many of our industry peers, Emmis took these steps as an expense reduction effort and to better position the company. "

Translation: They did it so we’re doing it, too.

Today, it was CBS Radio’s turn to terminate.

The death toll is inconclusive as of this moment - but it appears to have hit a variety of positions including market managers, program directors, sales managers, and webmasters. Slaughterhouse markets include New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas.
Some learned their jobs were history when their CBS-issued Blackberries were shut off and its contents deleted.

And what did CBS have to say about the cuts?

We continue to build on our strategy of deploying our assets to best grow our ratings and monetize the results.

Translation: We still haven’t figured out what we’re doing but we believe we are getting closer to doing so.

In the past months, CBS Radio has streamlined its corporate management staff, and installed market managers and directors of sales in all of our markets.
“Streamlined” is the new “downsizing.”

The change in operating structure has improved the way we do business by simplifying buying and selling transactions, speeding up the decision making process, and importantly - allowing us to more effectively monetize the aggregate number of listeners who hear us on the radio and the Internet.

Employees get in the way.

CBS Radio also made significant programming improvements and considerably strengthened our digital assets, in order to distribute our content on all available emerging platforms.

We believe our own hype.

As a result of our new focus, we've experienced substantial over-the-air ratings gains and sizable online-traffic growth.

We try to believe our own hype.

We believe the combination of a new senior management team, continued emphasis on strategic programming decisions, investments in interactive new media and continued attention to costs will best position CBS Radio for success in 2008 and beyond.

We really try…

Off the record….want to buy a cluster of stations? Medium market?


Dr. Baum's History Lesson of the day said...

CBS "tehnically" regionally selected those whose positions were terminated. That way CBS Radio corporate can distance themselves from the firings and elude that all decisions were made by individual managers. The role of Pontius Pilate was played by Dan Mason. The role of Tiberius Caesar Augustus was played by Les Moonves.

Your Obedient Servant said...

I believe those fired were only following orders from above. Funny how they fire their own mistakes.

CBS - Crap Bull Sh-it said...

We heard rumors of layoffs on Monday and were told that nothing of the kind would happen at our station.

Three people (as far as I know) got let go in our market.

The manager called them "not important to the company" as if their firings did not really count.

Disgusted In Philadelphia said...

Good luck, CBS Radio. You are going to need it. Instead of firing your employees and managers that have worked around the clock trying to rebuild your radio chain out of the ashes Mel Karmizan left it in you fire the very people that were the most loyal and dedicated to turning around CBS Radio. That shows what kind of company CBS Radio really is. You like Clear Channel will have to part and parcel your radio properties to newly formed companies made up of former broadcasters and innovative teams that will know how to bring this industry back.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in the CBS Radio-Dan Mason press release does it mention that EMPLOYEES WERE TERMINATED. It was the usual gobbygook. A lot of words that said absolutely nothing about the HUMAN toll. There are people with families, mortgages, car payments. People that worked hard and were dedicated to a company that dumped them unceremoniously like garbage. Come on, Dan Mason. Not even mentioning that you had to let people go? At least Emmis had class. They acknowledged their fallen comrades. You did nothing.

Anonymous said...

Do you think these radio heads call each other up and plan their firings to coincide? It's lonely at the top.

CBSucks said...

The sad part about this is that the people that should have been terminated were not. Instead it fell on the worker bees. People have not been treated well in our company since the CBS merger with Group W. First Mel, then the goof, now the two faced slimeball. I work(ed) by someone who had just been credited for achieving some difficult goals. One week later.
You get the picture. Payback is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

YOU WHINING BABIES. You deserve to be fired. Instead of blaming Dan Mason, blame yourself. Dan has rebuilt CBS Radio to be an industry leader. To do so he had to deal with the realities of the marketplace. He is still undoing damage done by Joel Hollander and Mel Karmazin before him. Look what he did in New York with WCBS-FM. That takes gumption. If anything he is eliminating the dead weight that has dragged the company down. Ratings are up which means sales will be up. Dan Mason is radio's greatest broadcaster and dare I say it - hero. Those that were let go deserved it. They were not carrying their weight which makes it unfair to those that had to pick up their load. To compare this to Emmis or Clear Channel shows how unknowledgable you people are. Mason did not fire all PDs or GSMs or GMs. Those that could not perform the duties required were terminated. End of story. It happens in radio, it happens in a bakery. Only the best deserve to survive. It may seem like a lot of people were let go but not really. CBS is a big company. Percentage wise CBS let go far less people per capita than Emmis or Clear Channel. Stop making Dan Mason the scapegoat. There isn't one. THOSE PEOPLE THAT GOT FIRED DESERVED IT. END OF SENTENCE.

Anonymous said...

Dan Mason did not bring back CBS-FM or K-Rock in New York. CBS-FM isn't oldies. It's lame classic hits. The only reason it has any numbers is because there is NO oldies station in the city. If any station even a strong AM put oldies back on New York radio it would slaughter WCBS-FM. K-Rock sounds like KROQ in LA. That is not New York rock and roll. That new station that replaced smooth jazz is not the answer either. Someone will eventually come into New York and do rock radio right. Until then Dan Mason can bask in the false glory of his accomplishments.

deep cover said...

CBS fired a PD in Cleveland right after an excellent book that exceeded expectations. He was hero for a minute, gone the next. They fired the wrong guy.

inner santum report said...

mason wants his own crew in. all of those fired were hollanders or karmazins. some like ny he personally chose. others he depended on regional management to submit the names of the expendibles.

Anonymous said...

Some of what has happened at these companies is due to the economy but on the whole, it's because they bought to many properties in 1996 and continued to make mistakes in judgment.

CBS schlock said...

I'm one of the "lucky" ones. I didn't get fired. The ones that did were very dedicated. Now I get "promoted". I have the additional duties to do the work of those that were terminated for the same pay. I'm one of the "lucky" one.

Anonymous said...

When Dan Mason returned to CBS I remember reading Jerry DelCalliano celebrating that a real radio guy was back in the business. So this is what a real radio guy does? Follow Clear Channel into the abyss. Overworked and unpaid. I don't know who is more fortunate. Those of us that got "streamlined" or those who still have to work for CBS.

Frustrated! said...

So CBS thinks they can stretch management that far? They think by eliminating program directors they will improve the product? They think that they can increase sales by getting rid of sales managers? I worked for Clear Channel before i joined CBS Radio about two years ago. I found them to be just as cheap and inifficient as Clear Channel. It does not matter who is running it. Pete Townshend was right. Meet the new boss same as the old boss. What Mason did was clean up Joel's programming blunders...that's it. Otherwise it is the same lame backward company and now I expect it to get more Clear Channel-like.I have three car dealers that pulled out of radio entirely beginning this quarter. They see a diminishing return and they are not listening to the radio either. Radio uses the excuse that it is old media v. new which is a crock. It is BAD RADIO. It is a clients spot getting lost in a ten spot cluster. There is no secret to why clients are not getting response to radio ads. Radio has to take care of the product we have to sell. Start there. Clear Channel and CBS. Same company these days.

Anonymous said...

Is Citadel next? Radio One? Salem? When will this end?

More qualified employees are being laid off for either inexperienced part-timers or no one at all.

XM and Sirius learned from terrestrial radio. Now, the only hope for terrestrial radio is to learn from satellite.

Anonymous said...

"...When will this end?"

When the power is shut off for non-payment of the utility bills.

Anonymous said...

Thank you John. You speak for a lot of us. We pay for their mistakes. Their greed overvalued radio and now the market is correcting it. Hope you are right about the fire sales. I look forward to people that know what they are doing to be back in this industry.

Time for Change said...

John Sad this is that the people who are so far over their heads and Peter Principle in running radio today will exit with boatloads of dough. Not as much mind you if they had created a better product. The losers are employees, shareholders, and vendors who watched their part of it decrease. Some wonder why this country wants a radical change in government and that surprises me. We reward lack of success and stifle creativity. You are right about Kevin Martin at FCC law. He should press charges against CCU but he wont because he can't because his boss is in Mays's inner circle. It really is a sad state of affairs. I look forward to change.