iHeartMedia has announced a reorganization of its Markets Group, and the fallout has already included layoffs.
The reorganization at the country’s largest radio network is intended to enable iHeartMedia to maximize performance in each of its markets and development of new platforms, by leveraging its investments in technology and artificial intelligence, its “unique scale and leadership position” in the audio marketplace, its multiple platforms, and its consumer and data expertise, according to the company.
To enhance resource-sharing, the company is grouping its markets into three divisions defined by their “common needs and characteristics,” each led by multiple presidents. They will report to Greg Ashlock, who continues as overall president of the Markets Group.
The new “region” division, comprising many of the biggest markets, including New York and Los Angeles, will be led by division presidents Kevin LeGrett and Scott Hopeck.
A “metro” division will house markets “that are large areas that still encompass multiple communities,” but unlike the largest markets, “are not regional hubs.” That division’s presidents are Tom McConnell, Tony Coles and Linda Byrd.
A “community” division includes markets that “focus on the shared needs of one community and one trading area for most businesses and advertisers, and will also group markets into geographically close/”culturally similar” areas. That division’s presidents are Shosh Abromovich, Nick Gnau and Dan Lankford.
In addition, iHeartMedia has promoted Julie Donohue, who has been running its cross-markets Multi-Market Partnerships Division, to president of that division.
The company’s Integrated Revenue Strategies group, led by Hartley Adkins, will be merged into the Markets Group. Adkins will become chief operating officer of the Markets Group, working with Ashlock.
iHeart’s new tech- and AI-enabled Centers of Excellence, which consolidate expertise in various functions in specific locations, will be implemented in every market, enabling each market to leverage iHeart’s scale and shared resources across programming, marketing, digital, podcasts, sales and sales support, says the company.
“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,” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman stated in the reorganization announcement. “We are now using our considerable investments in technology to modernize our operations and infrastructure, further setting us apart from traditional media companies; improve our services to our consumers and advertising partners; and enhance the work environment for our employees.”
Meanwhile, yesterday brought “dozens” of layoffs, including program directors in key U.S. markets and senior DJs, according to Billboard, quoting one source who described the cuts as a “bloodbath.”
Other sources have cited multiple layoffs, including top positions at stations in Baltimore, San Antonio, Austin and Nashville, reports Variety.
But iHeartMedia says the cuts should be put in the context of the structural modernization and the size of the company. “During a transition like this, it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs — some by location and some by function,” the company told Variety, in a statement. “But the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500. That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.”