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It was another radio "Black Friday" in the halls of Cumulus Media Chicago today...

Cumulus Chicago Releases Numerous Staffers
Responses (20)
  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 28 2017, 07:25 PM - #permalink
    The story was awful enough, then I came to the part where they even let Dirks go! I'm really starting to feel relieved that I never pursued my dream of getting into radio, what a shame for all these fine folks.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 28 2017, 07:25 PM - #permalink
    Cumulus entered the Chicago market in 2011. Have they done anything that can be considered a success?

    WLS went from beating WGN in key dayparts and demos to dead.
    Bruce and Dan? Failure.
    John Kass? Failure.
    Steve Dahl? Bust.
    Brandmeier? Disaster.
    John and Ray? Losing to WIND.
    Bob and Marianne. Failure.
    Loop Morning Show "search" a laughingstock.
    Barter ads during White Sox games.
    WKQX format and staff inherited from Merlin Media.

    Say what you will about CC/iheart but their Chicago stations are successful.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 28 2017, 08:22 PM - #permalink
    >>>Barter ads during White Sox games>>>

    Are you kidding me? Ads promoting Mancow on 97.9??
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 28 2017, 08:52 PM - #permalink
    Terrestrial Radio is dying along with the Baby Boomers...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, April 28 2017, 09:23 PM - #permalink
    Barter ads as in commercials a station has to run in exchange for syndicated programming. Barter spots are typically Ziprecruiter, male enhancement, Optima Tax Relief.

    White Sox games should be wall to wall beer, car dealers, restaurants, and other local businesses targeting Sox fans. Not the case with WLS. WSCR was able to do a better job selling worse Sox teams.

    In this case, the cutbacks at Cumulus are not a terrestrial radio problem. It's a Cumulus being terrible problem.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 12:44 AM - #permalink
    I know the fallback excuse is "it's business", but these always seem to go beyond business to just being cheap! Broadcasting as an industry, Radio and Television don't seem to understand or care, that they are now viewed as a less desirable career choice than driving for Uber.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 07:54 AM - #permalink
    It's too bad that radio lost its stronghold on the population over the last 20 years because of the wrong management people making terrible decisions.

    So called newscasts during which on air personalities feel compelled to comment on stories? The same 500 songs over and over and over again? Commercial breaks lasting five minutes or longer with no end in sight? Not giving the temperatures or the time?

    Even the "Listen to us online and on your phone" routine is flat out stupid. They told their audience how to listen to sources other than radio for what they want, and then act shocked when a consumer listens to channels with little or no advertising (in comparison) that plays tons more music and/or provides tons more information that they want.

    I have said this for the past few years. If the radio stations had kept doing what they did for us before the internet came along, people would not have had reasons to go elsewhere for what radio used to provide for all of us.

    So sorry for the good people that got screwed because of management decisions.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 08:33 AM - #permalink
    If Cumulus really wants to save money then a certain morning man on WLUP should be given one final paycheck and shown the door.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 11:45 AM - #permalink
    Marti Jones (along with Producer Dan) added a lot to WLS-FM mornings. Losing Marti is a big loss to that show.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 03:00 PM - #permalink
    It won't be long before the entire Cumulus house of in-debt cards will fall for good. Terrestrial radio could and should still be a viable business but between insane expansion of stations owned by a few companies and corporate bosses with the vision of Mr. Magoo, the mess that is here now is what's the norm.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 05:35 PM - #permalink
    Cum-Lost is in a death spiral. The first to go in these spirals are the peripheral employees and contractors. Which these folks are...or were. Programming types are just that way as a matter of fact.

    what most folks don't realize is the company has been through two restructurings already in the past 15 years. Once under Citidel when Farid bought the old ABC O&O group from Cap Cities/Disney, and when the Dickey's bought Citidel. Each one was deemed to be too much leverage. Farid saw that eventuality in the middle of the recession in a gullible egotistical maniac in Lew Dickey to sell what was clearly a distressed media group.

    It's only a matter of time before the company goes into Chapter 11 and is either recapitalized or parted out. Which the latter is unlikely as stick values are not even half of their peak 10-12 years ago. When the group would have fetched far more.

    Dickey's and their buddies deserve what they will get when that eventuality occurs.

    Iheart(less) is not far behind them and will see an even bigger blood bath in the not too distant future. Mark my words....

    RR
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 06:32 PM - #permalink
    Guest wrote:

    It won't be long before the entire Cumulus house of in-debt cards will fall for good. Terrestrial radio could and should still be a viable business but between insane expansion of stations owned by a few companies and corporate bosses with the vision of Mr. Magoo, the mess that is here now is what's the norm.

    You make good points Larry Corporations shouldn't have been allowed to gobble up terrestrial radio. The smaller owner operators such as Rick Jakle knew how to staff their station from the sales staff to on air talent the smaller stations should have been allowed to survive.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Saturday, April 29 2017, 06:48 PM - #permalink
    This is all part of a larger problem.

    They've made reasonable improvements to WLS-FM and WKQX is solid. The Loop is the best it's going to be with the format it has, in a PPM world and the format it has. Hard Classic Rock. Company wide though, there's obviously some problems. That's debt. Same goes for iHeart.

    WLS-AM is stuck in a rut for reasons that are a little more obvious.

    Political talk is not as popular as it used to be in the major markets like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles. They've been trying to pull out of it but it's a bit too late. WABC (Their sister in New York) is stuck in the 1s overall. This station used brag that it was "The Most Listened To Talk Station in America" Same with their closest rival, iHeart's WOR-AM. Just a tad better. Stuck in the 1s.

    Dallas and San Francisco (WBAP, KSFO) have it just a tad better.

    In Los Angeles, the News/Talk stations other than KFI are in the 0s. Exceptions in Talk are the more general talk stations (Such as WGN, KFI) and the All News stations (WBBM, WINS, WCBS, KNX) and Sports stations, particularly in the male demographic.

    And that's just the 6+, there's obviously going to be the demo breakdowns. But then there's the other problem, as the demographics get older so does the billing. WLS is flooded with brokered programming, infomercials for herbs on the weekends. Likely to pay bills.

    What are they going to do? They're not going to flip the format, they seem to be committed to it. Extending contracts. Throwing it on FM is not going to help. That's been attempted all over the place. Works in smaller markets, usually with stations with less reach on the AM (Directional, etc).
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, May 01 2017, 06:15 AM - #permalink
    As usual, the idiots making the programming decisions (bringing back Brandmeier, bringing back Bob and Maryanne, bringing back Dahl, randomly adding sports) continue to sit at 190 North and cash their hefty checks, while the content creators get shoved off the payroll as a 'cost saving' measure.

    I'm willing to bet you could combine the salaries of all let go Friday, and you'd still be paying them less than the feckless GM running the place.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Monday, May 01 2017, 01:43 PM - #permalink
    Guest wrote: Barter ads during White Sox games...Are you kidding me? Ads promoting Mancow on 97.9??


    It's called cross-promotion. Besides, I don't even know if 97.9 FM The LOOP is aware that 1997 is 20 years ago and Mancow isn't relevant anymore. The "Cow" isn't now.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, May 02 2017, 04:58 PM - #permalink
    at what point will Cumulus start selling off radio stations , eventually they will have to payoff their creditors right, lets get some of these stations back to people actually care about the product they are selling, it's what is best for the industry
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, May 03 2017, 07:29 AM - #permalink
    Geez @abshark are you still relevant now? That word, "relevant", used frequently in this blog when describing seasoned talent really irks me. If you don't like his show (I sure don't) that's one thing. But people don't lose their relevance as they age or as they further their careers. Mancow (again, I am not a fan) certainly has a fan base. The times I have listened to his show I can clearly see the appeal even though it's not for me.

    I believe the issue is his show being on a classic rock station, i.e. "safe" music following such a brash show. It doesn't match up well for a listener's taste.

    Bits that were big decades ago (such as prank phone calls) seem to be going over well nowadays on several stations in town. Radio folks may conclude it's outdated but guess what, there's a whole new generation who didn't hear 90's radio (ie, Mancow) so it is new to them...and there are those who fondly remember that time of their youth and love hearing stuff like that, as they may also feel about music. Folks who who heard Mancow in the 90's heard a much heavier selection of rock songs than the Loop plays. His show is very reminiscent of Rock 103.5 yet the music after 10am is not.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, May 03 2017, 06:13 PM - #permalink
    This is fairly off-topic, but I recently listened to some old tape-to CD-to digital files (surprisingly decent sounding) recordings I have of Rock 103.5. I forgot what an excellent mix of old and new (at the time) rock that they played. What a loss. Same goes for what The Loop used to be like, before the flip to Talk.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, May 03 2017, 08:50 PM - #permalink
    I'd love to hear those, maybe you could post somewhere like youtube
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  • Accepted Answer

    Sunday, May 07 2017, 01:10 AM - #permalink
    Unfortunately I had scoped most of the music out of the WRCX recordings, but I would like to eventually post what I do have somewhere. I have a bunch of other stations recordings I'd like to post when I can find some time.
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