WestwoodOne consolidating formats; some layoffs
There was a long meeting 5/16 in Dallas with WestwoodOne detailing a plan to employees how the former Cumulus Media Network (CMN) formats will be merged into WestwoodOne’s 24-hour formats to avoid duplication. In the process, a total of about 10 full time employees have been let go and a number of part-timers. Names include: Charlie Derek, Dave Bolt, Johnny Wolf and Kim Stewart (actually, she moves from full to part-time). Other full-timers have been offered part time.
The duplicated formats include AC, Hot AC, Classic Hits, Classic Rock and Mainstream Country.
Some employees from CMN have been invited to stay on board if they choose to learn the WestwoodOne STORQ system.
“Since the merger back in October, we immediately started to consider the 24-hour format business. We had these two big operations and wanted to bring them together and offer one consistent product with the very best people and the very best technology,” Kirk Stirland, President of Programming for WestwoodOne, tells RBR-TVBR. “We touch 1,721 radio stations with product in the 24 hour format space alone. So we had to look at all of them and solve for giving them all unique product. Because in 50 markets, we had stations where they were slightly overlapped. Not a lot of direct head-to-heads, but we did have some where there was some overlap. We discovered that using the different technologies between WestwoodOne Local with its patented STORQ system, and WestwoodOne Total, that we had a way to give every single radio station the format they have, even if there was an overlap—a separate music schedule and a separate announcing staff by adding some full-time announcers. So after we did that, we determined what staffing we required. We kept as many Cumulus Media Network announcers as we could, because we wanted some consistency for those 250 or so radio stations. We’ve been informing the employees down here today.”
Cumulus Media Network affiliates will be invited to switch over starting the second week in June. The actual staff changes on the air will occur 7/11 or 7/12. Stations will get everything over the same satellite system they are using now. CMN affiliates are going to get a modern clock with better flow. They will basically get a new airstaff and will get help with imaging and jingles.
Both operations in Dallas will stay open for now—Both CMN and TM Studios. WestwoodOne’s format business is also produced in Culver City, CA and Denver.