Radio stations cut jobs, announce furloughs-WEB ONLY

Two national radio giants with several stations in Indianapolis announced cost-saving steps this week to cope with the slumping economy.

Clear Channel Communications Inc. slashed 590 positions nationwide Tuesday, on top of cuts it made earlier this year. And Atlanta-based Cumulus Media Inc. told employees yesterday that it is requiring them to take five days of unpaid furlough.

San Antonio-based Clear Channel has about 50 employees in Indianapolis; the company owns local radio stations WFBQ-FM 94.7, WRZX-FM 103.3 and WNDE-AM 1260, and its Clear Channel Outdoor billboard arm also has a presence here.

How many employees at local Clear Channel stations lost their jobs is unclear. A corporate spokeswoman said the company does not divulge what markets are affected by layoffs.

Rick Green, vice president and Indiana market manager for Clear Channel Radio, said minimal reductions were made at the three Indianapolis stations, and no on-air staff was affected.

As part of a massive restructuring, Clear Channel in January eliminated 1,500 employees, or 7 percent of its total staff.

Clear Channel also is likely to move toward a national programming model that would require less local staffing, according to media reports.

CC Media Holdings Inc., the holding company for Clear Channel, reported last month a 14-percent decrease in revenue for the fourth quarter, as advertising sales continue to slide.

The slumping economy is battering the radio industry. Cumulus said it is requiring employees to the take the furlough between May 1 and June 30.

Cumulus owns local radio stations WFMS-FM 95.5, WJJK-FM 104.5 and WRWM-FM 93.9.

Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. said earlier this month that it hired a financial adviser to explore restructuring some of its debts.

Emmis, which has more than $400 million in debt, borrowed another $71 million April 10, according to a regulatory filing.

Emmis said in the filing that domestic radio revenue in March was down 26 percent compared to a year earlier and that it expects April revenue to decline 32 percent.

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