Emmis employees to find surprise in their paycheck


Emmis CommunicationsLike a lot of media companies, the rough patch Emmis has traveled can be measured in terms of years. The company is taking an extraordinary step to reward the staff that helped make it all happen.

Leader Jeff Smulyan sent a memo to employees spelling out just how far the company has come en route to transforming into a leaner, better-structured corporation. The key part of that journey was reducing its debt from $1.5B all the way down to about $80M.

The recent closing of its sale of KXOS-FM Los Angeles was just the latest move to clear debt off the books.

But the company is not forgetting the people who were on board while the company navigated these waters.

Smulyan detailed some of the company’s overall strategic plans, then asked the rhetorical employee question “what does this mean to me?”

“The first thing this means is that your company wants to thank you for all you have given and all you have endured. Effective with the next payroll, (Friday, September 7), all full time employees will receive $1,000 and all part time employees will receive $250.  Everyone employed with the company on August 24 will receive the bonus. This is our way of showing our appreciation for your loyalty and dedication. There’s an old song by Barry Manilow (I know, I couldn’t have picked a less hip artist). The Song is: I Made it Through the Rain. It talks about enduring hard times and the gratitude one feels from coming out on the other side of adversity. All of you have helped Emmis make it through a long period of rain. I am proud to have come through that rain with you and am honored to continue to work with you into what I am certain will be a more enjoyable, exciting future.

“Thanks to all of you.”

Among the strageties Smulyan detailed were these:

* It will look at investments to grow its radio and magazine businesses, but will also consider new areas that are a good fit with the company.

* It will be basing its decisions on ROI, and recognized that the prospects for rapid growth in its core radio and magazine lines remains limited.

* As far as selling the company or taking it private goes, there are no plans for either. Smulyan said, “As for going private, while I never will say never, I believe we can keep Emmis as a public company that can continue to outperform its peers in its current industries and can find innovative new ventures that will help propel us to a new level.”