Clear Channel statement “similar to last year’s pre-holiday staff reductions“: “We are constantly looking at all aspects of our business to ensure that it reflects how the best organizations work today, taking advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology and organizational structure so we can continue to operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“Like every successful business, our strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company; this creates some new jobs, and unfortunately eliminates others. These are never easy decisions to make.
“In the process of making these recent changes, some employees were affected. We thank them for their service and wish them all the best for the future.”
After 15 years with the company, Stone said he was offered “an insulting severance package” and was in and out of the boss’ office “in 13 minutes.” Stone blamed what he called “reactionary” decisions from the top — “talk more, don’t talk, play more music…” — for the station’s ratings woes. The company has pushed the “iHeartRadio” app as the next big thing but, Stone said, “without terrestrial radio there’s no cash flow.”
Billboard: While probably unrelated, the cuts follow a recent report by Moody’s Investor Services that says the company could have a hard time refinancing $10 billion in debt coming due in 2016. Analyst Scott Van Den Bosch is quoted as saying, “If CCU is to have a realistic chance of refinancing $10.1 billion in debt in 2016 its operating performance will need to improve well above current levels.” Otherwise, Van Den Bosch says the looming obligations could necessitate some sort of merger or a sale of assets. It’s hard to imagine though that, regardless of how deep these cuts go, they would be enough to radically influence how that debt is dealt with.
This is not the first time Clear Channel has adjusted their workforce in the fourth quarter. Last October the company made a round of cuts across their small and medium market properties that were seemingly directed at making better use of bigger name, nationally syndicated hosts. The company also had another round of restructuring back in March of this year.