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.
KNBR’s Brian Murphy Speaks for First Time After Paul McCaffrey Laid Off
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’.”
Earlier this week, KNBR underwent a round of layoffs, affecting a pair of programs on the Bay Area sports station, including the departure of longtime morning host Paul McCaffrey. His longtime partner — Brian Murphy — has taken to X to share his thoughts.
In a thread to X, Murphy shared his admiration for McCaffrey, whom he hosted Murph and Mac with for 18 years.
“Paulie Mac is my guy, will forever be my guy. The best thing I could ever wish anyone is that you get to work with someone as loyal, energetic, funny, consistent as the guy his Jersey buddies call ‘Smack’,” wrote Murphy. “So much love.”
He then shared that everything listeners and fans of the program have shared on social media has been read by the duo, and thanked them for the outpouring of love and support.
Finally, Murphy addressed his future. Fill-in host Dieter Kurtenbach shared on Thursday he did not have a definitive answer about Murphy’s future with the Cumulus-owned station.
However, Brian Murphy has shared he will return to the airwaves on Monday morning.
“I’ll be back Monday morning on KNBR with our guy Markus (Waterboy) Boucher,” Murphy wrote. “Come on. It’s Niners-Eagles. Wouldn’t miss it. As Paulie Mac’s board itself would say: The show goes on.”
Mike Mulligan: Sports Radio is More Difficult Than Other Formats Think
He shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
On Friday morning’s edition of Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score in Chicago, co-host Mike Mulligan outlined the difference with music radio that hosts are not continuously talking to the audience, instead taking mic breaks and then interspersing commentary with different songs.
Filling in for David Haugh on Friday’s edition of the program was Gabe Ramirez, who used to work in the format with B96 as the host of its morning show. Mulligan’s assertion about the differences between the two formats resulted in a conversation about the differences between the grenres, with Ramirez explaining the difficulties that music radio hosts face on the air.
“The music station’s still creating content,” Ramirez said. “You get to have a guest – since I am going to defend my music stations – you get to have a guest and toss them a softball question and listen to them rant for five minutes.”
Mulligan disagreed with this perspective, conveying that he does not feel their program provides guests with easy questions. Additionally, he shared that he has worked with people on morning shows that he has seen come to a station fully hungover who play music and proceed to sit on the couch.
“As a former sportswriter, we sit around and we talk about sports,” Mulligan said. “We talk about the sports we cover and we talk about other sports.”
“You have to talk about Justin Fields seven days in a row,” Ramirez replied. “As a morning show for music, you have to come up with new content every day.”
Rather than taking umbrage towards the response, Mike Mulligan explained that the key to effectively performing his job is being able to discuss important stories of the day even when they are not the headlines. Furthermore, he expounded on the commitment that it takes to watch the amount of sporting events and to be properly informed on the action so he is able to take the air.
“That I will agree with,” Ramirez said. “I’ve told people this – they ask me, ‘What’s the biggest difference?’ The prep, without question, is way more difficult in sports radio because everyone that’s listening to you already knows the answers and you have to be equally if not more informed in all of those things.”
Minnesota Twins Set to Tab Cory Provus as New TV Voice, Kris Atteberry as Lead Radio Announcer
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012.
After Dick Bremer exited the Minnesota Twins TV booth in October, the search began for his replacement. The MLB franchise didn’t have to look far, though.
Twins radio voice Cory Provus is reportedly set to become the new TV play-by-play broadcaster for the club, according to a report from Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Provus has been the radio voice of the Minnesota Twins since 2012. Many immediately tabbed him as the club’s replacement for Bremer, who retired after 40 seasons as the lead television voice of the American League club. Before joining the team in 2012, Provus worked for the Milwaukee Brewers as the number two broadcaster after spending two seasons as the radio pregame host for the Chicago Cubs.
Meanwhile, Kris Atteberry has been signaled as the person set to replace Provus inside the franchise’s radio booth. He has served as the pregame and postgame host for the Minnesota Twins Radio Network since 2007. Atteberry joined the club after spending five years calling games for the then-Independent St. Paul Saints from 2002-2006.
While the television and radio broadcast crews appear set, questions remain about where the team will televise its games in 2024. The club’s contract with Bally Sports North has reportedly expired, and it has yet to sign an agreement with the bankruptcy-laden RSN, or with a local over-the-air television station.