Back in March, about two weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold, Beasley Media Group implemented wage cuts and hour reductions for staff. That was before the company notified the state of Pennsylvania that it planned to temporarily lay off 63 people based out of Bala via the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
Fast forward to June 9th, and the company is not out of the woods yet, extending those salary and wage reductions while implementing another round of permanent layoffs.
In an email sent to employees and obtained by Crossing Broad, CEO Caroline Beasley writes the following, in part:
Similar to other companies, Beasley has evolved the way we approach our daily operations as a result of the economic impact caused by the pandemic. Our initial plan, originally unveiled in March, was structured with the #1 goal of keeping our employees safe during these unprecedented times and resuming our business operations at the appropriate time (approved by state and local governments).
No one could have ever anticipated that several of our markets would not begin the first phase of the reopening process until June. As a result, we must continue to adapt to the new financial environment we are facing within each of our individual markets. We will be reducing performance based bonus distributions for bonuses earned Q3 and Q4, extending the 10% wage cut for salaried full-time employees and extending the 10% reduction in hours for full-time hourly employees. These cuts will be effective through December 31, 2020, respecting any outstanding contractual obligations. In addition, the company will be extending furloughs until the end of the year. Some employees may return sooner, based upon the needs of the company on a market to market basis. I will also personally continue to forego 20% of my compensation until the end of the year.
These cuts first became effective April 1st and were originally set to expire at the end of June, but have now been extended through the remainder of the year.
In a separate email, Market Manager and Vice President Joe Bell informed staff of four more layoffs. Those impacted were non-sports or corporate-related staffers not directly associated with 97.5 The Fanatic.
Locally, Beasley owns 97.5 the Fanatic, WMMR, 92.5 WXTU, 610 ESPN, 95.7 BEN FM, 860 WWDB, and 102.9 WMGK.
Rival radio company Entercom, based at 2400 Market, also had a significant round of layoffs in April, letting go of a number of hosts and some mid-level managers. WIP veteran Rob Charry was bought out in the process. Pay cuts were implemented across the local cluster of stations, which includes WIP, KYW News Radio, 1210 WPHT, 96.5 WTDY, B 101.1, and 98.1 WOGL.
Legacy media took a big hit with COVID-19 and terrestrial radio seems to have been hit especially hard.