The stations have not been able to resist the drop in advertising and the poor forecasts for the remainder of the year.

The stations have not been able to resist the drop in advertising and the poor forecasts for the remainder of the year.

The stations have not been able to resist the drop in advertising and the poor forecasts for the remainder of the year.

Juanma Castaño and Manolo Lama, in a file image.

The situation is critical. The radio is facing one of its toughest periods with its income plummeting and with the urgent need to cut costs to ensure its financial viability. The sources consulted by invested They indicate that we are facing a situation never seen before in which the current model makes no sense and that they must be changed urgently.

All the pillars that have been supporting the radio for almost a century are at risk of disappearing: live broadcasting, information coverage, the need for technicians and reporters on the ground. Nothing will ever be the same again and the coronavirus has accelerated major changes.

And all in the midst of one of the worst economic crises for Europe since the Second World War. In this context, the main broadcasters in our country are considering important adjustments, cuts and layoffs for the year 2021, as this newspaper has learned.

Almost all are under social salary reduction plans, but the situation is getting worse, forcing them to undertake a second wave of adjustments that could take an important part of their squads with them. In this stage EREs are the measure that gains more strength among the large chainsbut also in the regional ones.

By stations, all have been affected equally and the worst thing is that the outbreaks have ended by stone the shy green shoots that the commercial teams expected for the second half of the year. The data from InfoAdex indicate that in the first half of the year the radio sector had a turnover of 165 million euros for advertising – its only income – which meant a drop of 34.3% compared to revenue for the same period of the previous year.

bad results

In individual terms, the issuers have only published the results of the first quarter without the great impact of the confinement on their accounts. In this sense, until March 31, 2020, the pandemic caused a reduction in income in the Ser accounts and the operating result of 6.5 million and 4.6 million eurosrespectively.

In Cope’s case, the station confirmed a decline in March salesof 35% compared to the same month of the previous year and that accumulated in the first quarter of the year a decrease of 19% year-on-year.

For its part, Atresmedia Radio (Onda Cero and Europa FM) reached in the first half of 2020 net income of 29.6 million euros, compared to 43.3 million euros obtained in the first half of 2019, a drop of 31%. The station also recorded operating losses of 1.5 million, compared to profits of 7.5 million in the same period of the previous year.

With these numbers, the chains have had adjustment plans underway for months, under the promise that they will recover the cuts when the Covid subsides. At the beginning of the confinement, Cope negotiated a salary reduction for part of the workers and in Cadena Ser two ERTE were approved in May, the first of suspension of working hours to 256 employees of the stationwhile the 10% salary reduction (the second ERTE) was applied to another 924 workers of the radio station.

In Cope the cuts have also been applied to its great stars such as Carlos Herrera, Angel Exposito or members of the Cope Sports team such as Manolo Lama or Paco González.

all teleworking

But it won’t be enough. The sources consulted indicate that the impact in the second half of the year will be much worse than expected due to the outbreaks and the poor macroeconomic outlook if there are new lockdowns. In this sense, revenue forecasts have been reduced and, therefore, cost control must be tightened.

That is why broadcasters look for formulas to maintain sine die these settingsat least during 2021 and perhaps 2022. This is without prejudice to the fact that layoffs will also be launched next year.

The sources consulted indicate that the new normal, which threatens to become the long-term normal, leaves a series of positions in the radio stations that are no longer useful. This is the case of technicians and journalists who usually went to sporting events. With the restrictions of the Covid that only allows the entry of a professional through the soccer fields there are dozens of workers who have spent months without finding a fit in their teams.

The same goes for studio technicians. Most of the stars and writers have been telecommuting for months, leaving many station staff out of work who no longer have to ensure that a series of connections go smoothly. The directors of the chains have realized that they can carry out the programs without so much human equipment and that it is much less expensive to have your great voices intervene from home.

An entire revolution that threatens to cut a good number of station workers and that they can begin to experience the first waves of cuts in 2021, when the chains adjust the costs so as not to live a new disastrous year, like the one they are going through this course.

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