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Rough seas ahead for broadcast industry
ESPN lays off 300 employees
Good morning, all! It’s Frrrriiiiidddayyyyy!!!
As our nation attempts to figure out who will be the next president, the broadcast industry is facing its own upheaval. On Thursday, ESPN announced long-rumored layoffs. Some 300 employees have been given notice they are out of jobs. Also, 200 unfilled jobs will stay that way. Let’s just say rough seas are ahead for the broadcast industry.
The pandemic has fueled the ESPN job cuts, according to the chairman of ESPN and Sports Content, Jimmy Pitaro in a statement. But the fact is, sans pandemic, ESPN was still going to endure a major shift in its paradigm. In his statement, Pitaro said:
“For some time, ESPN has been engaged in planning for its future amidst disruption in how fans consume sports.”
Translation: more than likely, these layoffs were coming even without the virus. And according to The Athletic, these job cuts are just the start. Production staff is taking the major hit this time, but Richard Deitsch speculates that on-air talent will be on the block next, with ESPN not renewing contracts, when they expire. He also quotes an agent as saying something I have been harping on for some time; that ESPN will limit the number of broadcasters it sends on the road to cover events. The network will keep the broadcasters in house to call games off of monitors, as it has done throughout the pandemic. (And you can bet ESPN will not be the only broadcast entity that follows this blueprint.)
As the song goes, “the times they are a changing.”
It’s not just ESPN
It is not just ESPN issuing pink slips. There is a major shakedown throughout the broadcast industry, and it is only going to get worse, as the third quarter numbers trickle in. Keep in mind, many of these broadcast entities hold the rights to broadcast sporting events. Talkers magazine reports that third quarter revenue was down 30.1% for Cumulus Media. Meanwhile, iHeart will announce its third quarter revenue earnings on Nov. 9.
On the New Media podcast, Rob Greenley, who once worked in radio, told co-host Todd Cochran he was talking with someone in the radio industry this week who is also involved in the podcasting industry, “and he expressed a lot of concern about radio right now.” Greenley said that individual’s contention is that Covid has “accelerated” the decline of the radio industry. You can find his comments at about the 37-minute mark of the podcast.
The picture is not pretty and the rough seas ahead for the broadcast industry will have a major impact on sports broadcasting and broadcasters.
More on Orioles ownership
In the Wednesday newsletter I noted that some interest seems to be percolating about a possible sale of the Baltimore Orioles. Looking to quell such rumors, it was announced this week that MLB has approved John Angelos as “control person” to run the ball club. His father, Peter, 91, is reportedly in failing health. Angelos also stated his family wants to keep the team. But as my father once told me, “everyone and everybody has a price.”
Here’s what I know about the capitol building in Harrisburg, which seems to be a backdrop for a lot of news channels these days. You can get a great view of the dome, while walking around the concourse at FNB Field, home of the Harrisburg Senators.
Here is what else I know about Harrisburg. It is one of my favorite stops on the Eastern League circuit for numerous reasons, including the great people and wonderful friendships I have made there and the rich, baseball history of that great and historic city. And in the end, isn’t that what it is really all about?
On that note, as always, thank you for your support and have a wonderful weekend.