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iHEARTLESS Radio

iHEARTLESS Radio

I have a question…

 

They can call it “employee dislocation” or “downsizing” or any other combination of words used to try to obscure the intensely personal nature of the act, but you and I — and they, if they care to take the time to reflect on it — know the simple truth of being fired.

Lives have been disrupted, futures forever changed.

Marriages will be stressed to the breaking point. Some will end.

Self-worth has been shaken, perhaps permanently and that dims the bulb of life forever after.

They say this wasn’t personal?

As long as we live in a nation without universal health care of any kind, some of those “dislocated” will not be able to afford to buy the health care we all need.

Doctors will not be seen. Medications will not be affordable. Breast cancers will not be spotted until its too late. Kids with asthma will not be able to afford their inhalers, nor the emergency rooms they’re rushed to. God help you if your kids have cystic fibrosis, or diabetes, or if you have a glioblastoma, or melanoma…

Wait, you bought a house? You invested your savings into the down payment because you thought, finally, life was stable, no hint of this was ever made clear to you though the planning has been going on for years?

<sigh>

According to the report in All Access last week, this is “moderniz(ing) the company to take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace.”

Oh, but wait. Don’t judge yet. There’s this comforting quote to consider:
iHEART is the rare example of a major traditional media company that has made the successful transformation into a 21st century media company — one with unparalleled scale, reaching 91% of Americans each month with our broadcast assets alone, more than any other media company,” said Chairman/CEO BOB PITTMAN.

“We are now using our considerable investments in technology to modernize our operations and infrastructure, further setting us apart from traditional media companies; improving our services to our consumers and advertising partners; and enhancing the work environment for our employees.”

You see, iHeartlessMedia, with this “employee dislocation,” has created “Centers of Excellence“…”using artificial intelligence and other technology into hubs that the company claims will ‘provide a better experience for listeners and business partners and a more efficient process for all of its employees.‘ “

I think they left the word “remaining” out of that sentence above, as in “remaining employees,” and eventually “remaining listeners.”

And make no mistake, this has nothing whatsoever to do with providing a “better experience for listeners.” There’s no evidence listeners want this. To the contrary, there’s evidence they do not.

Of course, and you can almost hear the sadness in his voice, “there will be some employee dislocation — some by geography and some by function — which is the unfortunate price we pay to modernize the company.  We have had to make some tough decisions, and in the process some employees have been affected.  Please know we were thoughtful in this process and have provided enhanced severance benefits as well as outplacement assistance for any impacted employees, and we want to thank them for the valuable contributions they have made.”

You want to thank them? These people who did the actual grunt work of Radio while you and your team over-paid for and mismanaged those assets, and in that mismanagement, in many cases, created the problems you now claim you’re fixing.

You want to thank them??

I can picture it…

The bad news was delivered with a shrug, as if there was no choice, no option left. An inevitability, not even decided by those delivering the sentence, a level of detachment designed to obviate guilt, responsibility…

When you and I both know this is total bullshit.

Netflix, a 21st century media company, is spending more money each year on its content, not less. The same for Apple+, and Disney, and every other successful media company I know of.

Let’s not forget that American bankruptcy laws saved this radio company from its own irresponsibility. iHeartless got to write off tens of BILLIONS of dollars in debt, money borrowed to over-pay for existing (and profitable) radio stations in order to become Radio’s largest (unprofitable) group, whose self-selected board of directors then rewarded this same inept group of self-important blowhards with multi-million dollar bonuses.

Make no mistake. He’ll look suave and successful. He’ll sound intelligent and in control, the man with the plan to save radio, as he speaks and answers questions at the WWRS.

So, I’ve got a question: Have you no shame, sir?

These are people, human beings, who gave you their talent and dedication and loyalty, who worked ever harder even as you cut their compensation, people with husbands and wives and children, and pets and mortgages, and college loans, and hopes and dreams for their futures and the futures of their children that, while much more modest than yours, are just as worthy.

And you’ve wiped them out with a stroke of your pen!

You’ve not only changed the course of the lives of the individuals you’ve dismissed so wantonly, but also every life connected to theirs.

Have you no shame!

I don’t care how much champagne you drink, how many decadent chocolate truffles you serve on your private jet as you fly to Cannes to pat yourself on the back, the stench of this action will not be mitigated. I hope it stays on you for the rest of your career.

It should.

Because this was — is — avoidable, and we all know the truth of that.

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