Over the past couple weeks a round of staff downsizing and transfers out of the region took place in iHeartMedia’s Virginia-Carolina Region.
While normally layoffs being made at iHeartMedia are considered to be “business as usual” for many in the industry, multiple sources have indicated to us that there may be something else at play here. iHeart’s Virginia-Carolina Region was created in 2016 and includes eleven markets in three states: Harrisonburg, Lynchburg, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, and Winchester VA, Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh NC, and Greenville SC.
Layoffs have been reported in many of those markets the past couple of weeks including “103 Jamz” WOWI Norfolk APD/Afternoon Host DJ Fountz, CHR 104.9 WJJS Roanoke/102.7 WJJX Appomattox/Lynchburg Program Director/Afternoon Host Jack Spade, “99.9 Kiss Country” WKSF Asheville APD/MD/Afternoon Host Roger McCoy, “104.3 KCY Country” Harrisonburg Afternoon Host RJ Kelly, and three staffers in Greensboro NC: Senior VP/Programmin Rich McMillan had his planned retirement moved up, while AC 99.5 WMAG Program Director Gary Nolan and Rock “105.7 Man Up” host Matt Pencola departed.
The region then saw Director of Sales/Charlotte Market President Keith Hotchkiss transferred to run the Northern Ohio region and News/Talk 1140 WRVA Richmond Morning Host Jimmy Barrett move to KTRH Houston.
What is causing all these departures in just this region at iHeart? RadioInsight sources have told us that these cuts could be a prelude to a sale or spinoff to help raise funds for iHeartMedia. Curtis Media, Saga Communications and SummitMedia have been mentioned as possible suitors for the markets. Curtis recently expanded into Greenville/New Bern/Jacksonville NC, Saga sold off its television holdings and acquired Apex Media’s Charleston and Hilton Head SC stations, while SummitMedia recently gained a new primary investor and stated its desire to expand.