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March 27, 2020 8:33 am  #1


Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

It’s a terrible choice to have to make – lose salary or lose your job entirely. Those were the options employees at two U.S. radio chains were confronted with this week, as the coronavirus takes a toll on advertising and leaves some owners struggling to stay on the air.
 
Employees at The Adams Radio Group – which owns dozens of stations in mostly smaller markets like Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Tallahassee, Florida – have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to let the stations stay on the air.
 
At the same time, those who toil at Beasley Media Group – which owns stations in larger markets like Philadelphia, Atlanta and Boston – are seeing their cheques cut by the same amount, with the owner taking a 20% haircut.
 
Both companies have sent out press releases touting how proud they are of their staff for making the sacrifice in a tough time, but you have to wonder how much choice they were really given.
 
I suppose I would have agreed as well – better to get a smaller paycheque than none at all, especially at a time when so many have no regular income at all.
 
If confronted with the same options, what would you do?

Radio Companies Cutting Salaries

 

March 27, 2020 9:43 am  #2


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

I don't work in radio. I write freelance. But if I had a salaried-type job I'd probably take my cue from management and the owner. If they were consistently good people to work with, and the job itself was good, and if management and the owner also took some of the hit, I'd be rather inclined to agree and do my part. But I'd be much less inclined if they were a#@$^%$s.  One might also factor in need of that job and prospects elsewhere as considerations.
 

 

March 27, 2020 10:59 am  #3


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

I would opt for the pay cut. As you say RA better to get something rather than nothing.  But I am sure the employees that took the cut in their cheque realize that this isn't a guarantee that the company will survive or stay in business. I am wondering if any smaller stations will close down temporarily or possibly shorten the broadcast day. Maybe sign off later in the evening or midnight, especially small AM stations.  I mean how many people are actually listening to CJOY Guelph or CKPT Brantford at 2:45am on a Tuesday?

Same with newspapers, if this continues for months, I think there is a real possibility some papers will opt for on line versions only for most or part of the week. Maybe just keeping the Saturday printed paper, sort of what La Presse in Montreal has been doing for the past few years.

 

March 27, 2020 11:53 am  #4


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

One radio head, not long ago, in our - until recently - healthy economy, was purposely offering lower pay across the board; with the stated rationale that too many good people were looking for jobs.  I couldn't believe my ears.

The result?  That company has had staff churn and morale challenges, resulting in off-budget performance.  In as relationship-driven a business as radio is on both the programming and sales side, the best candidates reject the above philosophy and end up elsewhere.  Turnover costs (financial/morale) are huge.  Knowing that all radio companies are now economically affected, wise owners/managers will ensure that current, negative payroll adjustments do not translate into permanence, post-crisis.

People are our most important asset.  Investing in them will greatly determine the speed and size of radio's rebound.


Andy McNabb
AndyMcNabb.com
 

March 27, 2020 2:12 pm  #5


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Andy McNabb wrote:

One radio head, not long ago, in our - until recently - healthy economy, was purposely offering lower pay across the board; with the stated rationale that too many good people were looking for jobs.  I couldn't believe my ears.

The result?  That company has had staff churn and morale challenges, resulting in off-budget performance.  In as relationship-driven a business as radio is on both the programming and sales side, the best candidates reject the above philosophy and end up elsewhere.  Turnover costs (financial/morale) are huge.  Knowing that all radio companies are now economically affected, wise owners/managers will ensure that current, negative payroll adjustments do not translate into permanence, post-crisis.

People are our most important asset.  Investing in them will greatly determine the speed and size of radio's rebound.

Spot on! 

 

March 27, 2020 2:56 pm  #6


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

in my opinion, there are too many factors to consider, before answering. if you're talking "economics" it depends on  how much you're presently making, then again, most people (thanks to consumer credit) live above their means. imho, the real question should be: "are you willing to make lifestyle sacrifices to keep your radio job?" this reminds me of the days (back in the '70's) when radio/broadcasting schools (not the for-profit ones) would ask, during the initial screening process, "would you be willing to move to newfoundland in order to work in radio?" i was asked that question (and said "yes"). it was all for not, since i scored a smalltown radio gig (in my canadian "hometown") before the school term started.

 

March 27, 2020 3:02 pm  #7


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

And then there's the other alternative, which is really no alternative at all. 

From Maine, where the virus was the last ailment for a sick radio group, which will see five stations fall silent this Sunday. 

WOXO says farewell to listeners; Gleason Radio Group to go silent after 45 years
 

     Thread Starter
 

March 27, 2020 4:20 pm  #8


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Below minimum wage? Isn't that illegal?

 

March 27, 2020 5:21 pm  #9


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Hopefully the five stations closing in Maine won't be permanent. Like I mentioned above wondering if there is any likelihood of smaller stations here going silent all night or shorten their broadcast day if this situation goes on for many weeks or months. Even smaller stations owned by Bell, Rogers or Stingray etc. could possibly cancel all night programming or sign off late evening.  Hope it doesn't come to this. Revenues must be taking a huge hit at a time when most stations would be getting busier with remotes and spring advertising. 

 

March 28, 2020 5:23 am  #10


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

I rarely post links to something that has nothing to do with radio, but it IS on point that it's not just radio where cuts are being made... https://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2020/03/toronto-restaurant-chain-cuts-staff-wages-25-cent/

 

March 29, 2020 2:00 pm  #11


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Well, I guess they didn't give up enough salary. One of the stations in the Adams Group, mentioned above, has gone off the air. The combination of lost advertising and no sports has forced a longtime outlet, WGL Ft. Wayne, Indiana, off the air. 

Adams employees took a pay cut to keep their jobs, But whoever worked for WGL is gone. It took the coronavirus to kill it off - the place first signed on the air in 1925, some 95 years ago. I'm sure most of what they aired was syndicated from FOX, but if I gave up part of my salary only to still be fired, I'd be some kind of pissed. I wonder how the employees at the group's other stations feel about that 

All that remains of their almost century-long existence is a single page on their website:

https://i.ibb.co/TwDjLPz/WGL.jpg

     Thread Starter
 

April 2, 2020 12:25 pm  #12


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Layoffs have started in Buffalo radio and there may be more to come. 

Buffalo News: WGR's Hamilton among those furloughed by Entercom radio cuts

And there were or are similar moves at Entercom stations in Pittsburgh and Detroit.

From the Detroit News:

"Entercom employees who earn more than $50,000 a year will be forced to take a 10% to 20% pay cut, David Field, Entercom CEO, said in the memo."

$50K is not a lot of money but it goes back to the original question of this thread - better to be paid less than not to be getting anything at all. For now, most of the cuts are not surprisingly from all sports stations, which have no sports to carry - and thus few reasons for listeners to tune in. 

Even New York City stars haven't been spared. Some of the biggest names at WFAN are being asked to take a 20% cut to keep the station going. A few make as much as $250,000 a year. 

Mike Francesa and top WFAN hosts asked to take pay cut by Entercom 

You have to wonder how long the big two Toronto sports stations can continue with the format, now reduced to topics like "what's your favourite ballpark snack?" and other lame questions, before something happens here, too. Especially if this does, indeed, go on past July. 

Last edited by RadioActive (April 2, 2020 12:51 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

April 2, 2020 1:38 pm  #13


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Both Toronto sports stations may have to alter their formats a bit if this continues into the summer. I have noticed that both at times have almost sounded like news stations occasionally with their take on the COVID crisis.  TSN 1050 and 1150 in Hamilton could eventually  have a CHUM or CKOC heritage weekend or program, a lot of people would love that!   Sports fans and listeners can usually talk about almost anything at length and make it entertaining or funny.  So favourite ballpark snack, or what stadium in professional baseball has the best hot dogs or pretzels may sound mundane to the non sports listener, but topics like that can be very entertaining if handled with humour and you have the on air talent to pull it off and get the listeners to call in. 

 

April 2, 2020 1:51 pm  #14


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

I don't completely disagree - I once produced a nightly sports talk show in Toronto - but the problem is those "are golfers athletes?" (we got a lot of mileage out of that one!) topics can only go on for so long. Eventually, there has to be some meat in the ballpark frank. Three or four months of filler is a very, very, very long time. (But enough about what's in those ballpark hot dogs...)

     Thread Starter
 

April 2, 2020 2:11 pm  #15


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

John Oakley is the master at taking something very ordinary and making it entertaining.  About 10 years ago, I heard him go on about big screen tv's, hookers, overweight guys and donuts. Somehow he tied this all together and a lot of his regulars called in; it was very funny and entertaining.  This "bit" lasted about 20 minutes on air.  As John would say, it's all about the human condition...

 

April 2, 2020 2:21 pm  #16


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

RadioActive wrote:

It’s a terrible choice to have to make – lose salary or lose your job entirely. Those were the options employees at two U.S. radio chains were confronted with this week, as the coronavirus takes a toll on advertising and leaves some owners struggling to stay on the air.
 
Employees at The Adams Radio Group – which owns dozens of stations in mostly smaller markets like Ft. Wayne, Indiana and Tallahassee, Florida – have agreed to take a temporary 10% pay cut in order to let the stations stay on the air.
 
At the same time, those who toil at Beasley Media Group – which owns stations in larger markets like Philadelphia, Atlanta and Boston – are seeing their cheques cut by the same amount, with the owner taking a 20% haircut.
 
Both companies have sent out press releases touting how proud they are of their staff for making the sacrifice in a tough time, but you have to wonder how much choice they were really given.
 
I suppose I would have agreed as well – better to get a smaller paycheque than none at all, especially at a time when so many have no regular income at all.
 
If confronted with the same options, what would you do?

Radio Companies Cutting Salaries

Just a thought RA. 

I don't know if this applies to any of the US companies,  but if Health Care Benefits are provided I would think that would be a factor in deciding whether or not to stay;  especially if one has family members to consider.
 

 

April 2, 2020 5:20 pm  #17


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

paterson1 wrote:

Both Toronto sports stations may have to alter their formats a bit if this continues into the summer. I have noticed that both at times have almost sounded like news stations occasionally with their take on the COVID crisis.  TSN 1050 and 1150 in Hamilton could eventually  have a CHUM or CKOC heritage weekend or program, a lot of people would love that!   Sports fans and listeners can usually talk about almost anything at length and make it entertaining or funny.  So favourite ballpark snack, or what stadium in professional baseball has the best hot dogs or pretzels may sound mundane to the non sports listener, but topics like that can be very entertaining if handled with humour and you have the on air talent to pull it off and get the listeners to call in. 

The sports stations are in the zeros in the ratings right now. I'm not sure there's anything they can do about that. I wouldn't be shocked if they get paused and simulcast 680/1010 for a while. The all-traffic station in Montreal has done that.


 
 

April 2, 2020 8:46 pm  #18


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

You are right they likely will just simulcast 680/1010 down the line. But what they should do is have a CHUM CFTR CKOC renunion weekend, to break up the monotony.  Play some airchecks, play all the old jingles, call up some of the jocks, news people that are still around, have listeners call in and give it some pre promotion.  You need to let listeners know it is coming up. The ratings have nowhere to go but up. Break all the rules and play it on all three stations.  TSN and Sportsnet have worked together before on television, so why not on radio for something special.
 
Besides you're not just doing it for ratings but for the listeners, the city and for some much needed fun!

The sports stations have nothing to lose; they are not exactly busy.   Best of all, you could likely sell it.  And you would get some press as well!  Run it over the May 24  and/or July 1st long weekends.  Sounds crazy?? Yes it is...

With all the festivals and events being cancelled this spring and summer, here is a great opportunity for AM sports radio!  A smart sales department would get the Cities of Toronto and Hamilton involved, possibly a charity, and lean on non traditional community focused advertisers and companies.   And the best part, the audience doesn't need to leave home to enjoy the show!!  

Now the chances of this happening are less than zero, but it is fun to dream...https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/angel.png

 

April 2, 2020 10:10 pm  #19


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

paterson1 wrote:

Now the chances of this happening are less than zero, but it is fun to dream...https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/angel.png

Indeed. There is no money for that. There is no money for anything. This is dire and unprecedented. 


 
 

April 5, 2020 8:11 am  #20


Re: Would You Take A Pay Cut To Save Your Radio Job?

Stingray Radio has now joined the parade of stations forcing layoffs and pay cuts, temporarily furloughing at least 90 people and ordering the rest to take a 10% salary reduction. A lot of people are affected. The company employs about 1,200 across the country. Sad, but perhaps inevitable. 

Stingray Radio temporarily lays off 90 nationwide

     Thread Starter