Clear Channel cuts 9% of work force

Posted January 20, 2009 5:57 p.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2009 10:15 a.m. EST

The parent of Clear Channel Communications Inc., which operates four Triangle radio stations, told workers on Tuesday that it is cutting 1,850 jobs as the nation's largest owner of radio stations grapples with the economic meltdown.

The cuts represent about 9 percent of the company's total work force and affect staff throughout the company, in radio, outdoor advertising and corporate offices.

Clar Channel operates four channels in Raleigh – WRDU-FM, WRVA-FM, WKSL-FM and WDCG-FM – according to the company's Web site. It also operates five stations in Greensboro, five in Charlotte and six in Asheville.

In a company-wide email, Chief Executive Mark Mays told employees that the company is facing an "unprecedented time of distress." He also said, though, that "Everyone in our investor group, on the board, and in the executive leadership team remains bullish about the long-term growth prospects for Clear Channel."

The advertising market has been soft, especially for radio stations.

In the third quarter, company lost $86.1 million before discontinued operations compared to a profit of $253.4 million. The just-concluded quarter included $148.8 million in merger-related expenses and other one-time items. Revenue fell by 4 percent to $1.7 billion.

The steepest drop was in radio advertising, down 7 percent to $844 million.

Private equity firms Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP formed CC Media Holdings to acquire Clear Channel in July for $17.9 billion.

San Antonio-based CC Media Holdings trades over-the-counter. Clear Channel operates over 800 radio stations reaching more than 110 million listeners in 50 states.