Mark Mays: Clear Channel Reduces Workforce By 9%
January 20, 2009 at 2:44 PM (PT)
This has been an historic and yet bittersweet day with the inauguration of President BARACK OBAMA, and the dramatic downsizing at CLEAR CHANNEL that affects 9% of the workforce, across the board, totalling approximately 1,850 postions.
CLEAR CHANNEL CEO MARK MAYS Sent The Following Companywide Email Out
As I've mentioned previously, we are facing an unprecedented time of distress in the general economy – and the ripple effects have hit some of our largest customers hard.
Today, we had the unpleasant task of bringing our Outdoor and Radio businesses’ staffing in line with these challenging economic conditions. In doing so, we enter 2009 as a solid company and in the most competitive position possible.
Today, we had the unpleasant task of bringing our Outdoor and Radio businessesâ?? staffing in line with these challenging economic conditions.
We have thought carefully and at some length about the steps we need to take as a company to succeed during this unprecedented downturn. As a result, we have eliminated approximately 1,850 positions across Corporate, Outdoor and Radio. While a significant portion of these positions represent a realignment in our sales departments, the positions span all departments and represent approximately 9% of the total CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS workforce.
One of the things that has kept CLEAR CHANNEL strong throughout our history is a willingness to deal with difficult situations in an immediate way -- to make the tough decisions today in order to secure a strong future. It is this trait that has gone furthest in enabling us to weather many difficult downturns in our 37-year history. It always requires clarity, collaboration and courage.
Please know that these have been difficult decisions -- yet necessary ones. We will miss those who are departing -- even as we renew our shared commitment to success among all of us who will stay.
Everyone in our investor group, on the Board, and in the executive leadership team remains bullish about the long-term growth prospects for CLEAR CHANNEL. We continue to believe that the Outdoor and Radio businesses offer excellent opportunities.
We need to remain highly entrepreneurial and innovative. We also need to remain focused and compassionate. If we continue to manage our business carefully, and invest with discipline in the right strategic opportunities, we will navigate this downturn effectively and emerge even stronger and better positioned when things improve.
Starting now, it is our ability to bring creative thinking to the current business climate - to focus on the benefits we deliver for customers - to show extreme focus and commitment -- that will create results.
CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS has more resources than any of our peers. The tools are here. The support is here. It's time to use them to create lasting competitive advantage for our customers - and for our company.
Please know that we continue to be extraordinarily appreciative of all of the passion and hard work that each of you continues to commit to this phenomenal business. We will get through this together.
We're in this together. We have the best team. And we all have important work to do.
As we head into the New Year, I know we will meet the oncoming challenges with focus, determination and grace.
Please let me or your management team know if you have any questions.
In support of the downsizing, the company supplied the following Power Point presentation.
ALL ACCESS Reached Out To Clear Channel With Some Specific Questions
The company declined to answer specifics about percentages of cuts from specific divisions, job levels, and how this would affect bonuses, or pay adjustments in the wake of the downsizing.
We did learn that there is a total cost-savings of approximately $350 million, but they declined comment regarding additional downsizings in the future.
ALL ACCESS also learned that there will still be national sales and there will still be direct sales on a local level as well.
Q: Were reductions predicated by certain operating cost goals dictated by recent loan covenants tied to the privatization of the Company?
A: Reductions were made to bring CLEAR CHANNEL in line with the changed economic and advertising realities and outlook. In this sense, the company is among all in American business today that are taking these types of prudent actions.
Q: There are a lot of rumors that the changes in programming will lead to hub & spoke programming where music decisions are centralized, and no longer taking into account for individual market tastes. Will this be taking place?
A: There is no absolute approach. CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO is focused on delivering the best and biggest audience to our advertisers. We have no room for low performers. That’s true all across the company – whether in Radio or Outdoor.
Q: Do you feel these moves will signal where the radio industry is moving as a whole as an operational trendsetter?
A: We’re focused on our business. Our colleagues in other companies need to make their own decisions.
Q: Where does the company see itself in six months, in a year, and in two years?
A: Continuing to employ the most talented and highest-performing professionals in our industries. Continuing to provide those professionals with the best and broadest array of resources. And continuing to attract and deliver the largest and highest quality audiences.
Q: Will there be additional waves of staff reductions?
A: We will continue to watch the advertising and economic situations closely.
In an intervew with the FINANCIAL TIMES, MAYS said, "We're not as focused on where programming originates from as much as making sure it's the highest quality programming that will generate the highest audience. There's no focus on saying we're relying more on syndicated programming or local talent. We're focused on what is working."
Hogan Addresses The Troops
CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO President & CEO JOHN HOGAN, added his thoughts to the situation:
Today has been a difficult day companywide as we addressed the economic realities affecting our country and many other companies. While separating from colleagues is personally difficult, the changes we have made were carefully considered and are necessary and prudent business decisions.
We are choosing to change as the environment around us changes and will begin work today on re-engineering our operations to successfully compete today, tomorrow, and in the future. The challenges will be many- we continue to see softness in the advertising market; we continue to compete with all forms of media for both audience and advertising dollars; and we continue to have to do both in a way that’s smarter, faster and more effective.
But, there are three very important things that we have going for us. CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO has the resources, the will, and the plan to compete going forward. Our deep bench of talent and intellectual capital will drive CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO through this downturn and ensure our ability to emerge from it fast, stronger and better than ever.
In recessions, there is a flight to quality by advertisers, and CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO offers the highest quality by any measure.
o Radio continues to have the largest, most desirable audience of any media. Better than broadcast television. Better than cable. Better than newspapers. CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO operates more top-ranked stations and digital sites in our local markets than any other broadcaster. We have the top syndicated talent on the air and online in our PREMIERE RADIO NETWORKS COMPANY.
o CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO also continues to have the most desirable digital properties in the country. From our streaming broadcasts to our on-demand content to our mobile applications like iheartradio, our brands are gaining audience daily in the most coveted demographics and platforms.
o CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO , in partnership with our PREMIERE RADIO NETWORKS and KATZ MEDIA GROUP colleagues, is part of the world’s largest and most effective radio advertising network by any measure.
Recessions also favor the forms of marketing and advertising that give the highest return on investment. We clearly have the opportunity to take market share away from broadcast television, cable and newspapers in this economy.
As we move forward, please know that you have the support and commitment of everyone on the CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO management team. We have the best resources of any radio company- and we have the will to win. Please join me to an important all-staff webinar on Wednesday morning for which your Market Manager will provide details.
Thank you for your efforts and support.