Employees at local Entercom radio stations are holding their breath after the company's CEO told all of its employees that furloughs, layoffs and salary cuts are coming as soon as today because of the coronavirus outbreak.
David Field, the chairman and CEO of Entercom, sent a memo today thanking employees for their “resilience, dedication and fortitude” before telling them significant cost reductions are needed because of the loss of advertising revenue from clients whose businesses have been disrupted and shut down by the crisis.
Entercom owns several stations in Western New York, including sports talk station WGR-AM and news talk station WBEN-AM, ESPN 1520 AM, Star 102.5, WKSE-FM Kiss 98.5, Alternative Buffalo 107.7 FM and Classic R&B simulcast on WWWS-AM and 107.3 FM.
Paul Hamilton, who covers the Buffalo Sabres for WGR, confirmed he was furloughed.
"It's just where our world is right now," wrote Hamilton in a direct message. "Who would have thought a virus would do this much damage to our world? I just worry for people and where this world will be when it's all over."
According to multiple sources, popular WKSE evening host DJ Anthony, who has been at the station for more than 20 years, also is off the air, and his job may be eliminated. He could not be reached for comment.
Like all forms of media, radio is taking a big advertising hit, which may result in more popular personalities being off the air soon.
Unlike television stations and newspapers – which are getting larger audiences and readership because more people are at home – the radio audience is likely decreasing because it gets much of its audience from people in their cars, and the closing of businesses means there aren’t as many people on the roads listening.
Sports talk stations also may be suffering because none of the sports leagues are playing games. That undoubtedly led Hamilton to be furloughed.
“I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances,” wrote Field. “We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions.”
Field said he is taking a 30% salary reduction and anyone earning more than $50,000 annually will take “temporary salary reductions of between 10% and 20%.”