Cumulus Media to undergo Transgender surgery

The New Cumulus is starting to emerge. The new CEO is not just an executive who happens to be a woman, but a woman on a mission to transform Cumulus into a female company. She just axed her male SVP of operations who has decades of experience in radio. There are rumors that the VP of programming is also on thin ice for making sexist remarks.

This is a sea change for an industry that largely viewed women as toys to have sex with in the storage room. It’s been a business dominated by men and testosterone, with an ample supply of recreational pharmaceuticals consumed by the on air talent.

Mary Berner “fixed” reader’s digest by pushing it through bankruptcy. What had been a thoughtful source of reading for people with limited time to search for and skim lengthy articles from books and magazines is now mostly a web site

http://www.rd.com/

The magazine is now total female oriented dreck like chicken wing recipes and how to cure dandruff. Don’t expect to read about the politics of the immigration situation or the future implications of falling oil prices – that crap men obsess about. We need more tips on how to make flowers last longer.

Her new management team is mostly women. Will Cumulus thrive by becoming the Delilah feel good network? Time will tell. I still own my stock. I’m in to the bitter end.

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3 Responses to Cumulus Media to undergo Transgender surgery

  1. briand75 says:

    Interesting. The case for sales reps and close local relationships is a good one. I bet that Ms. Berner will discover that business isn’t easy. A Harvard degree doesn’t mean much if you don’t understand the business and it’s risk factors.

    If business was easy – we would all be in it and successful.

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    Ms Berner has a fundamental misunderstanding of her business, but it a widespread disease. She believes profitability is tied to ratings. That’s not true.

    Other than the former ABC stations and the Susquehanna stations, she runs a company of radio stations in unrated markets or small market stations where ratings are not done using PPM and are unreliable due to small sample sizes.

    Listeners are not identical moving parts. Part of Rush Limbaugh’s success was less about the number of listeners than it was their above average incomes and willingness to spend money on advertised products. WTOP in Washington DC is hugely profitable not just because it has listeners, but who the listeners are and how closely they listen.

    The Dickey brothers destroyed Cumulus by throwing away decades long relationships with advertisers by discarding local sales reps and replacing them with an 800 number. Local talent was dumped in favor of cheap syndicated shows.

    Mary just hired a group of veteran Program directors with a change that they report to regional business managers instead of a national programming VP. Presumably they will be empowered to hire new local hosts.

    That’s all good, but it costs money. Having destroyed the morale of the sales force, even if you solve the ratings problem, revenue will take years to recover, if at all. Time is not on her side.

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