CLEVELAND, Ohio — iHeartMedia is furloughing an unspecified number of employees as the largest radio company in the U.S. deals with the effects of the coronavirus crisis.
In an internal memo signed by iHeart CEO Bob Pittman and president Rich Bressler, the company says the the number of furloughs represents a “small total number of employees.” Affected staffers will not be paid during their 90-day temporary leave of absence, as the company is calling it, though they will continue to receive benefits.
“We look forward to welcoming them back as soon as we can,” the memo states. “This is not a layoff or a reduction in force.”
The action comes two months after iHeart, which has 14 stations in Northeast Ohio, laid off about 1,500 employees nationwide as the company enacted a plan to modernize and consolidate operations. At the time, radio insiders told cleveland.com to expect another round of job losses around spring break or Easter. The coronavirus pandemic hit instead.
“From what I am able to tell, it’s a combination of full and part-timers,” an industry source told cleveland.com. “Wonder how many, if any, will be called back from their furlough when we recover from the pandemic?”
To avoid permanent layoffs, Pittman, according to the memo, will forgo the remainder of his salary for the year and annual incentive bonus. Bressler and other senior management are taking paycuts ranging from 30 to 70 percent.
According to the latest available figures, Pittman made $13.4 million in total compensation in 2017, while Bressler earned $8.85 million.
This past Sunday, the company produced the star-studded “iHeart Living Room Concert for America” on Fox, which, according to Variety, raised more than $8 million for two charities on the front lines of the crisis: Feeding America and the First Responders Children’s Foundation.