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View Diary: Radio Station Lays Off Entire Staff On The Day Before Thanksgiving (100 comments)

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  •  Your anger is wrong and misplaced. (11+ / 0-)

    That's our business. Stations change formats for a host of reasons. Holidays aren't exempted as a right and wrong time.

    In my business, we're just finishing the fall ratings period and heading into the winter session. This is when a lot of these stations stunt their stations to change into a new format before the spring session if they wish to make a change. The reason for this is because it takes months for a station changing formats to build awareness and audience. The station and their ownership is preparing to compete and be competitive for spring 2013.

    The staff at any radio knows going in that format changes are a reality in our business. I've been part of a few. It's not personal but it still hurts and you're out of a job. However, we know what the deal is going in.

    I don't know why the station is changing formats. It could be that they weren't making a reasonable profit to continue. Political talk of any type isn't doing well right now. A lot of radio companies are dumping all political talk. Rush broke the camel's back and advertisers are no longer willing to have their brands in the middle of any conflicts.

    The company owning this station sees that and longer wants to be a part of that. That's reasonable and shouldn't be hated for doing it. They look like a small company who can't afford to keep throwing money like a big company does. They aren't Clear Channel.

    These people aren't assholes or corporate leaches. There are business trying to survive a talk radio backlash.

    •  Just because it is SOP does not make it right. (15+ / 0-)

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

      by SaraBeth on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 11:29:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nor does it make it wrong. It just is. EOM (5+ / 0-)
      •  What's "right"? (5+ / 0-)

        How would you have handled this?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 03:38:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  By firing them on Monday, for starters. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joe Bob, JVolvo, PvtJarHead

          Why not let them have a pleasant Thanksgiving weekend before axing their jobs at the most expensive time of year?  

          And, the problem is there is no "right" in the American business model anymore...which is very, very wrong.

          Republicans...What a nice club...of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel -6.62, -6.92

          by CanyonWren on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:32:27 PM PST

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          •  News Flash: (4+ / 0-)

            There never was "right" in the American business model. Apart from Frank Capra movies, twas ever thus.

            And as for firing them on the following Monday "at the most expensive time of the year", what would the axed employees do about all the credit-card debt they'd racked up at the Black Friday sales? Our pay period ended Wednesday, and I'm betting Mid-West's pay period did the same, so it was "cleaner" to fire them when they did.

            As Rip Torn said in Men in Black, "Sucks, huh?"

            "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

            by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:41:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, no shit. Why are you defending this? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joe Bob, JVolvo, PvtJarHead

              It's awful, heartless, and just a tad rude, even by American business standards.  End of story.

              Republicans...What a nice club...of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel -6.62, -6.92

              by CanyonWren on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:01:10 PM PST

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              •  And that would be true... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kurt, jakewaters, PvtJarHead

                ...if the communications industry worked within "normal" standards. It doesn't. Howard Hesseman said it in the pilot for WKRP, but it's true: "They all fire you sooner or later!" The romantic in me prefers Steve McQueen's line from Le Mans: "This is a professional blood sport, and it can happen to you. And then it can happen to you again!" It did for me: I got fired 3 times over 13 years, and twice I got fired with the rest of the staff, just like in this instance.

                The thing is, if you're fired in radio, you're not seen as some horrible pariah, as you are in other "normal" industries -- you're just one of the gang! Everyone on this thread with industry experience is telling you this is SOP, the holiday aside, and I haven't seen any post from any of us that doesn't agree this sucks big-time. We're as shocked as you, but we're not surprised, and we're damn sure not defending it, so please don't ride your high horse over me.

                "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

                by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 08:20:31 PM PST

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                •  Sad but its the cynical holiday music makes it all (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  PvtJarHead, Oliver Tiger

                  better approach that galls.'  

                  Completely understandable- if they gave Sly and the newsroon 2 weeks notice that they would be dead meat on a stick the day before Thanksgiving that would not have brought them rave reviews either.  

                  "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

                  by jakewaters on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 04:02:42 AM PST

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                  •  Plus: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PvtJarHead

                    No matter what they threatened Sly with (up to and including holding his spouse, SO, or favorite pet at gunpoint), you know Sly would have said something about it on the air. No owner will let any employee do a Howard Beale, particularly in this age of Facebook and YouTube.

                    "Dead meat on a stick." I thought I was the only one who used that phrase. Recc'd! :)

                    "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

                    by Oliver Tiger on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 05:41:40 AM PST

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                    •  For some poignant gallows humor about (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      PvtJarHead

                      corporate de-jobbing read, "Then We Came to the End" by Joshua Ferris who used DMOAS and dozens of other euphemisms to describe the wretched experience.  

                      I am so thankful to have the job I have now- I had a prolonged stretch of underemployment (888 days to be exact but who was counting?) that ended on election day '04.  No, I didn't get elected and that was fine by me- got a FedEx'd job offer 3 hrs before the polls closed, made my last 50 GOTV calls all that much easier to do.

                      Nothing feels as shitty as having your world cut out from under you then again, nothing is as sweet as that first drive to work at the new job.

                      Corporate America has led a race to the bottom since the late 70's and any help we can give each other to raise folks up is all for the good.

                      My best part time gig during my underemployment was teaching math and Biology for a local Union's 'Training and Upgrading ' Fund.  My student's were all older black ladies who were going for CNA certification  and i was proud to do my part though i've never worked for a union for a day in my life.

                      "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

                      by jakewaters on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 07:44:50 AM PST

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    •  Yes, this station employed a "liberal" team (6+ / 0-)

      so they must not be that entrenched in ideology.

      I suspect the layoffs were strictly a business decision.

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 11:33:44 AM PST

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    •  brought on by talk radio Limpbo enablers (4+ / 0-)

      your concerned apologia is noted as such.....

      The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

      by ozsea1 on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 02:24:27 PM PST

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      •  Oh, child, PLEASE! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shirl In Idaho, ipsos, gosoxataboy

        Yes, this sucks, but it's also SOP. We who've been -- and who are -- in this industry know this stuff, and while we hate it as much as you do, we know it's part of the deal. And I'm betting some of the people who got axed knew that, too.

        "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

        by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:34:35 PM PST

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    •  I've been in radio 20+ years (7+ / 0-)

      As a PR move this is something that could create an internet rage wave, especially with so many people today with so much free time on their hands. Waiting 48 hours would've been the smart move and the compassionate move.

      Radio Free Moscow -- A Blue Beacon in the Red State of Idaho -8.5219, -2.0592

      by brentbent on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 02:39:22 PM PST

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      •  My hubby was in radio well over 2o years but he (4+ / 0-)

        was laid off so often due to changes and budget cuts, that he actually went into fulltime retail with much better benefits than he ever had in radio. Mostly though he never worked in a large radio market and those small and medium sized stations cannot afford to pay good wages and offer decent benefits.  

        But he got tired of being laid off every few years and instead has opted for retail but he will do radio work part time instead.

        He spent years doing radio fulltime but now he has decided he only will do it part time as he needs a fulltime job of any kind with decent benefits to survive the unpredictable nature of working in the media these days.

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 03:04:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't miss radio... (5+ / 0-)

          ...but I do miss DOING radio! In the studio, if everything's going the way you want, you're a king of infinite space. It's when you have to step out of the studio and deal with the sharks and the sales maggots that things get bad.

          So while I miss the job, I do NOT miss the industry. And I hate to say it, but public radio is just as insulated and just as politically-motivated.

          "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

          by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:38:24 PM PST

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    •  My husband was often laid off from many radio (4+ / 0-)

      stations over several decades...he was seldom anywhere for more than 5 years before the layoffs came.  It was almost due to format change or cutting the budget. Many said they had to get rid of the fulltimers with benefits and replace with part timers as they could not afford fulltime staff.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 03:01:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does your hubby have radio work dreams? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakewaters, PvtJarHead

        He's in a studio, there's one turntable/CD player, the song's running out and there's no music anywhere, and the microphone's on the other side of the studio from the turntable/CD player...

        I've still having those dreams 15 years down the road, and it's only been recently when I've actually "taken charge" of them: Instead of trying to "handle the problem", I let the song end and walk out of the studio. When management starts yelling at me, I freely insult them and call them idiots for maintaining such a ridiculous logistical set-up. It's quite empowering, actually. :)

        "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

        by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:51:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps not here but other profitable stations (4+ / 0-)

      that had local coverage and meaning in a number of places in the USA had formats changed after takeover by conservative networks and ran with lower profits or even losses just to ram talk radio into a market...

      So it is not always about finding a better return on investment but about removing non-conservative programming and replacing it with something else ... anything else just so a more progressive leaning programming was silenced.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 04:05:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're talking the exception, not the rule (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PvtJarHead

        Nobody in the industry does anything that isn't financially-motivated right at the top. If those companies were "ramming" talk radio into a market, it's because they saw dollar signs. If ownership stayed with the format, it's because it would cost more to replace it (i.e. hire staff, pay wages, come up with an actual format) than it would to stay with the format and still make money, even if it wasn't as much as they'd hoped they'd get going in.

        "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

        by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:55:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The network is profitable enough to subsidize (0+ / 0-)

          a few loss making stations. They do set out to change the entire radio landscape... it is made easier since the demographics do favor the kind of audiences they have but they do intentionally deprive some areas with audiences for more liberal fare and replace it with more or less determinedly conservative stuff.... yes it is an exception and one then can afford to continue their goal of cornering the radio waves for right wing thought... So since they will build up a conservative audience eventually they do not mind a station that loses money for a while..

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 11:58:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Horseshit (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shirl In Idaho, JVolvo, PvtJarHead

      Unless Sly lies out his ass, which I'd guess his loyal listeners would disagree,

      1) his show had high ratings with the last book and

      2)sponshorship was high.

      Yes, owners can be fickle but one wonders whether there wasn't some other pressure brought to bear:

      Maybe they didn't like the show Sly did on remote on Tuesday
      at a local Walmart

      Let's show our local Wal-Mart customers what working on a holiday is all about.  Let's do it by showing up to their Black Friday sale in Monona at the Supercenter off of South Towne Drive.  

      What's the hitch?  We're not shopping for anything, but we will be standing with the poverty-stricken and abused workers of America's largest employer as they struggle to make a holiday happen for their own families.

      Yes, he stood with poverty stricken and abused workers and where is he now?  Just business as usual, eh? I understand you were speaking in hypotheticals but the reality seems to be a little further to the right and i don't mean correct direction.

      Looks to me that there are some sore sore losers out there who are doubling down on the dumbfuck.

      On the other hand Sly may have said no to Mid-West family's suggestion of dropping turkeys from a helicopter and it was all just a misunderstanding about the company's intentions toward turkeys.

      Lets se how Mid West's new turkeys fly in the new format and we'll know for sure.

      "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

      by jakewaters on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 05:20:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Poor analysis (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakewaters, PvtJarHead

        If it was a question of "Sly being Sly", they would have just fired him. It is entirely possible to asshole your way out of a gig, regardless of ratings. Witness Keith Olbermann. You don't blow out an entire staff because one guy was making nasty noises. That's cutting off your head to spite your nose. This was a corporate course correction, pure and simple.

        "If you're going to go down with the ship, make it a submarine." - Wayne Shorter

        by Oliver Tiger on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 06:42:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The DAY before Thanksgiving? Bullshit. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PvtJarHead

      "Happy Thanksgiving, you're fired."  How effecient of them. Changing formats or no, it's a lousy, despicable way to do business.  Let people have their holiday weekend and fire them on Monday, for God's sake.

      Republicans...What a nice club...of liars, cheaters, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses. Der Spiegel -6.62, -6.92

      by CanyonWren on Thu Nov 22, 2012 at 07:29:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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