Both major Boston sports radio stations — and their on-air talent — are facing the harsh financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entercom Communications, the parent company of sports radio station WEEI, informed employees in all of its markets Thursday that it would be implementing pay cuts, layoffs, and furloughs to cut expenses during the pandemic.
Early Thursday evening, Beasley Media Group, which owns 98.5 The Sports Hub, confirmed it has taken similar measures, which include a 10 percent reduction in salary for full-time employees during the second quarter.
David Field, Entercom president and chief executive officer, sent a memo to staffers explaining his company’s decision Thursday morning.
"We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times,” Field wrote.
"Unfortunately, the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand. Our nation is facing unprecedented disruption that has shut down countless businesses and entire industries, including many of our customers.
"This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues. We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.”
According to the memo, which was obtained by RadioInsight.com, full-time Entercom staffers that make more than $50,000 per year will be required to take pay cuts from 10-20 percent. Field said in the memo he would take a 30 percent pay cut.
WEEI management did not immediately respond to a request asking how its staffers and programming would be affected.
Meanwhile, the Beasley Media Group has eliminated a total of 67 positions across the company, furloughed 18 full-time employees, and are furloughing several part-time employees, per a statement given to the Globe. CEO Caroline Beasley took a 20 percent cut in salary.
None of the Sports Hub’s full-time on-air personalities were laid off or furloughed. But hours for full-time employees have been reduced from 40 to 36 per week. "We anticipate bringing back all furloughed employees at the end of the second quarter or sooner if circumstances permit,’’ the statement said.
In the Boston market, Entercom also owns Amp (103.3 FM), Magic (106.7 FM), Mix (104.1 FM), WEEI-AM (850), and WEEI-AM (1440).
In addition to the Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group owns Hot (96.9 FM), WROR (105.7 FM), Country (102.5 FM), Rock (92.9 FM), and WRCA (1330 AM).