It’s the most wonderful time of the year … for employment modifications.
Entercom has taken an outsized role of late with high-profile leadership changes at its Chicago and Washington, D.C., station groups, respectively.
Now, a change in command of its San Diego stations is about to take place.
Starting Jan. 1, Director of Sales Karyn Cerulli will add SVP/Market Manager duties for the stations, comprised of Alternative KBZT-FM 94.9, Country KSON-FM 103.7, Sports KWFN-FM 97.3, Adult Contemporary KYXY-FM 96.5 and Classic Hits KXSN-FM 98.1.
She reports to Jeff Federman, recently promoted to Regional President.
“Karyn is an exceptional, strategic leader who has made a mark since joining the team,” Federman said. “She has built a great team and delivered outstanding results as Director of Sales. We are thrilled to have her at the helm of Entercom/San Diego.”
Cerulli thanked COO Weezie Kramer, Federman and the person she is succeeding — Bob Bolinger.
“I have great shoes to fill and am looking forward to leading the team to even greater success,” she said.
Bolinger, who has been SVP/Market Manager of Entercom/San Diego since 2015, will be stepping down at the end of the year “to pursue other interests.”
He said, “The last four and a half years I have spent with Entercom have been among the most rewarding of my career. I am so appreciative of Weezie for giving me the opportunity, as well as Entercom/New York Regional President and Market Manager Susan Larkin, Jeff and everyone else at Entercom for their continuous support. I am very proud and grateful for what this amazing Entercom/San Diego team has accomplished and wish them and Karyn only the very best.”
Cerulli joined Entercom/San Diego as Director of Sales in February 2016. Before that she held a similar role at Cox Media in San Diego, a local advertising division of Cox Communications.
Cerulli began her career as an Account Executive with Citadel Broadcasting in Providence, R.I. and from 2000-2005 was GSM of WXLO-FM in the Worcester, Mass., market.
Bolinger, a market veteran, had been GM of CBS Radio in San Diego until 2015; he then took a job with Entercom following its tax-free merger with CBS Radio. Bolinger has also been VP/Market Manager of the Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) stations in San Diego, a role he earned in June 2005 after running Infinity’s stations in San Diego. Eleven years earlier, he had been named GM of KFMB-AM & FM. Prior to that, he ran KKLQ-AM & FM, the former “Q106” — a CHR/Pop monster he signed on in late 1986 under owner Gary Edens upon his arrival in San Diego.
Bolinger had previously been in Phoenix, serving as Station Manager of KOY-AM & FM. But, before that, he was in San Diego — as GM of KJQY-FM. Other experiences include serving as GSM of RKO-owned WHBQ-AM 560 in Memphis.
At Entercom, Bolinger’s tenure was marred by the spring 2018 format change of KWFN from CHR/Pop. Originally set to be “The Machine,” the programming shift was thrown into disarray when now-former talk host Kevin Klein via Twitter shared an image of the Coronado Bridge with the words, “jump to a new morning show.” The bridge is known for its frequent suicide attempts, and the San Diego Padres — which airs its games on KWFN — protested. Klein was fired, a rebranding to “97.3 The Fan” was then made.
While the reasons for Bolinger’s departure were not specified, the timing will only escalate discussions among some radio industry observers that Entercom is seeking to reduce higher-salaried employees as its stock price is depressed and its debt remains an issue to Wall Street.
With shares at $5 in midday trading on Wednesday, ETM is at its highest point since an early August nosedive that sent shares tumbling as low as $3.12 by the end of September.
Still, ETM was at $6.46 one year ago and $15.30 a share on Dec. 1, 2016.
For the nine months ended September 30, Entercom decreased its outstanding debt by $146 million; its Consolidated Net First Lien Leverage Ratio was 2.7x.
The company’s long-term debt stood at $1.72 billion, shrinking from $1.87 billion at the end of the 2018 calendar year.
A key reason for that debt? The CBS Radio deal. The transaction, struck November 17, 2017, consisted of $1.17 billion of total equity consideration and $1.39 billion of assumed debt.
Bolinger’s departure comes on the heels of Jimmy de Castro‘s voluntary exit as the full-time Market Manager for its Chicago stations and Regional President for its Milwaukee and Madison, Wisc. Succeeding him is Rachel Williamson.
Then, there’s the change in the Nation’s Capital, where Phil Zachary is no longer SVP/Market Manager but instead serving in what Entercom brass call “a corporate role working on special projects.”
Further accelerating the belt-tightening talk at Entercom are high-profile air personality exits in Miami: WLYF-FM “101.5 Lite FM” Asst. PD/afternoon host Kimba; Jade Alexander, who handled the midday shift at Classic Hits WMXJ-FM “102.7 The Beach”; Todd Allen Durkin, morning host at WKIS-FM 99.9; and Brian “Beast” London, morning co-host at Sports WAXY-AM 790 “The Ticket.”
The job losses, Zachary’s shift of duties, De Castro’s decision to leave, and now Bolinger’s departure come as COO Louise “Weezie” Kramer’s employment agreement comes to term at the end of December 2020. The agreement, signed July 18, 2017, allows Kramer to earn a base salary of $742,000. She is entitled to an annual incentive bonus of $500,000. Kramer also receives a monthly car allowance of $900, and received $625,000 of performance vested restricted stock following the CBS Radio merger with Entercom.