iHeart Radio Beat Fades in Several Markets On Dark Tuesday

Cuts in radio, newspaper and television stations are still happening even as the stock market trades in record territory.

There were reductions at several of the 850+ stations in the iHeart Media group on Tuesday as the company trimmed expenses on the balance sheet and if social media posts are to be believed, listeners across the world.

The radio giant cut deeply at KxNO in Des Moines, eliminating the staffs at The Morning Rush and afternoon drive program, KxNO Fanatics. At least 6 people were impacted according to social media posts and a WHO-TV report, Ross Peterson, Chris Williams, Andrew Downs, Heather Burnside, Travis Justice and Sean Roberts were let go Tuesday morning.

Two other locally produced shows were spared, but their exact future was in doubt as Murph and Andy did not do a broadcast on Tuesday.

iHeart Media is still trying to get on solid financial ground and media observers look to debt still being serviced by Bain Capital from the 2018 bankruptcy filing.

iHeart Media’a stock closed at 17.10 on Tuesday. The 52 week high was 19.00 and the low 12.72. The current price is close to a 5-year high for the stock.

KxNO did have local voices on the air Tuesday in the 4-6p slot. No word on if that is a temporary move or if national programming will be coming soon. The WHO-TV report indicated the 4-6p slot had been popular in ratings with the 25-54 male demographic.

Operations in the Quad Cities area were impacted. 40-year radio veteran Jim Fisher was part of the cuts at WOC in Davenport. Also, Dave Lavora, Todd Alan plus others at WOC, Q106 and WLLR were impacted.

Facebook friend Fletcher M. Ford posted this late Tuesday.

During the day Tuesday as news was developing on the cuts, sites were being scrubbed of hosts. I did catch these screen grabs before they were pulled.

What happens now is unknown for several entities like post-game reaction shows for Iowa Hawkeye and Iowa State Cyclone football games, local remotes at breweries and on-air shifts.

Stay tuned for more cuts. Nexstar has done some at WHO-TV as the sale was finalized in 2019.

The Des Moines Register has endured several cuts to the operation over the years as parent company Gannett tries to cut expenses in the entire operation. Word on the street is, a ‘major’ rounds of cuts are coming and could happen right before the Iowa Caucuses.

Is there a strong enough market to support podcasts, blogs or websites filling in local coverage gaps created by large corporate maneuvers? Will these groups work with advertising models? Or will subscription-based be the economic model for making a go?

For the record, the media images were social media screen grabs with the originators of the content left for attribution and credit.

Drop me your thoughts in the comments or send me an email: iptvpaul@gmail.com.

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