Entercom joined the growing list of radio companies that have made significant cuts in expenses during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Radio and Television Business Report, Entercom’s President and CEO sent an internal memo to staffers on Thursday morning announcing that many employees were being either laid off or furloughed.
“We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times,” Field wrote.
But that important role isn’t enough to save a lot of people’s paychecks. Field called the moves “deeply painful” and “necessary under the circumstances.”
In an internal memo obtained by Radio Insight, Field justified the cuts by pointing out “This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues. We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.”
Entercom is also forcing all full-time employees earning over $50,000 annually to take 10% or 20% pay cuts. Field will take a 30% pay cut himself, making him the latest radio company executive to forego part of his own salary in solidarity with his staff. Previously, Beasley Media Group announced that Caroline Beasley would take a 20% pay cut. iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman will give up his salary for the remainder of the year.
Among the affected by the layoffs are two sports radio hosts in Milwaukee. Afternoon host Bill Schmid, who had worked on The Big Show with Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer, Leroy Butler and Gary Ellerson has been let go. He confirmed his departure via Twitter.
Longtime host Chuck Freimund who spent over a decade with 105.7 The Fan and had been teaming with Bart Winkler in mornings was also let go. He also shared the news of his exit on Twitter.
On a positive note, Freimund returned to social media two hours later and shared that he’ll have positive news to share soon. It appears that 97.3 The Game in Milwaukee has been in touch about adding him to their operation.
The layoffs also impacted Julie DiCaro in Chicago. She confirmed on Twitter that her position at 670 The Score has been eliminated.
DiCaro isn’t the only Score staffer effected. Midday co-host Connor McKnight confirmed on Twitter that his position was eliminated. The show’s producer Rick Camp says he was also let go. So too was longtime reporter and host David Schuster, and weekend host Maggie Hendricks.
In Detroit, 97.1 The Ticket parted ways with longtime host Dennis Fithian and update anchor Ryan Wooley.
The cuts impacted two notable programmers too. 92.9 The Game PD Terry Foxx, who was voted the 15th best programmer in sports radio as part of the BSM Top 20 of 2019, and helped build Atlanta’s sports station into a ratings winner after doing the same in Pittsburgh at 93.7 The Fan was a victim of the company wide layoffs.
The second programmer impacted was in Sacramento where ESPN 1320 PD Brian Lopez, who also programmed 96.9 The Eagle was laid off. Lopez had been with the company for 27 years.
Longtime update anchor and host Joe Altamonte had his tenure come to an end in Philadelphia. Altamonte spent 22 years contributing to SportsRadio 94WIP and KYW Newsradio.
Also in Philadelphia, longtime anchor and weekend host Rob Charry was let go after three decades with the station. So too was anchor Sue Schilling. The news was first reported by Crossing Broad.
A little further south in Charlotte, WFNZ lost a pair of producers and on-air contributors. Wilson & Parcell’s producer Ryan Chell and Kyle Bailey’s producer Julian Council confirmed they had both been let go.
One sports station that Entercom has tried to avoid hitting with cutbacks is WFAN. Andrew Marchand of The New York Post tweeted that the company has made keeping the station in tact a priority.
However, longtime update anchor John Minko is exiting the station. ‘The Mink Man’ who has been a part of The Fan since July 1987, accepted a contract buyout. He’ll continue to call St. Johns University games.
Longtime update anchor Harris Allen chose to follow Minko out the door, announcing his retirement from WFAN as well. Allen had been with the station since 2006.
WFAN also lost its digital managing editor. Ryan Chatelain confirmed on Twitter that he was out of work.
According to a report from Marchand, Entercom asked Mike Francesa, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti to take 20% pay cuts and forgo bonuses through near the end of July. Station employees making $100,000 to $250,000 will be asked to take a 15% reduction in pay. Those in the $50,000 to $100,000 range will be asked to give up 10%.
WFAN and the CBS Sports Radio network already had their lineups altered on the weekends. Full-time staffers from both outlets are pulling Saturday and Sunday shifts. That includes Francesa. The weekend lineup is being simulcast across both WFAN and CBS Sports Radio.
In Houston, producer Brian McDonald confirmed he was laid off from his job at Sports Radio 610. McDonald had worked for the station for 6 years.
BSM also learned that Zack Duarte, Trevor Murray and Kevin Rogers were affected by the Entercom layoffs in Miami. They had contributed to 790 The Ticket/560 The Joe (WQAM), both owned locally by Entercom.
In San Francisco, KCBS Sports Reporter Joe Salvatore was notified of his release. Salvatore spent two decades working for the legendary station.
Buffalo sports station WGR lost Sabres reporter Paul Hamilton. Radio.com Sports took a hit as well with producer Joey Gelman being let go.
As more details become available we’ll continue to update this story so be sure to check back.
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”
DeAngelo Hall Explains His Exit From Commanders Radio Booth
“I’m a fan first and it made it hard sometimes to go to work because my vision of what I thought it should be wasn’t ultimately what the decision-makers wanted to do.”
In a case of “you never know who’s listening”, 106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C. got a surprise on Wednesday. Former NFL pro-bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall texted Brian Mitchell of BMitch & Finlay that he was listening and wanted to join the program.
After discussing some opinions of the Commanders and other rivals on the field, Hall made a point to address leaving the team’s radio booth as a color analyst. In April it was announced that Hall would exit the broadcast booth. At the time it was reported that the decision was Hall’s. On BMitch & Finlay he added more context by explaining that, “it just felt like it wasn’t the right situation for myself.”
Hall went further by adding that a deciding factor for his decision seemed to be the team’s vision for the broadcast.
“I need to see it. I’m a fan first and it made it hard sometimes to go to work because my vision of what I thought it should be wasn’t ultimately what the decision-makers wanted to do. And you know how I am guys, I speak my mind and I just asked to go my separate way. I still love the organization, I’m still rooting for them.”
The former Washington player joined Bram Weinstein and analyst Julie Donaldson when the Washington Commanders overhauled their entire broadcast crew after an organization-wide sexual harassment scandal mentioned former play-by-play voice Larry Michael.
Hall was sure to praise his former teammate taking his role. “But so hyped for London Fletcher. I told Julie and Fletch at separate times man, that Fletch was such a great teammate and an inspirational person in my life and my process of growing as a pro and as a man, that taught me so much about the game. I couldn’t be happier that she gets a hell of a replacement in London Fletcher.
“I’m hyped for those guys but I’m too pretty to be on the radio, guys, I need more face time,” Hall quipped. “I’m fighting to get in one of them booths. When you see Tom Brady making 10-for-375 I said ‘I’m in the wrong business.’ When you’re watching Tony and them guys I’m in the wrong business. I got to get off this radio and get my face in front of the tizzube.”