Urban One Moves Forward With COVID-19 Cuts

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Tuesday, April 7, was also a day full of temporary downsizing for the nation’s premier media company superserving African American consumers.


Urban One has enacted furloughs and layoffs for “many employees” at its radio stations, and at its national radio arm, Reach Media.

TV One is also impacted.

According to a letter distributed via e-mail to employees, distributed by RadioFacts.com, “sales and promotions” staff across both Reach Media and Radio One were impacted by the Urban One decision to protect its finances against COVID-19.

The two-paragraph email notes that “we are faced with a time of uncertainty and it is not business as usual.”

Urban One’s businesses have been “dramatically affected” by the effect of the Coronavirus on its advertisers.

“We have experienced significant cancellations for the second quarter and new business is coming in at a trickling rate,” Urban One said. “The decline in revenues forces us to react soundly and appropriately to ensure that we are able to operate our businesses going forward.”

This means “having to make very difficult decisions to furlough or layoff many employees, across all divisions of the company.”

While Urban One hopes to bring many of them back, “unfortunately at this time we do not know when this crisis will end,” the letter concludes.

Urban One CFO Peter Thompson confirmed to RBR+TVBR on Wednesday (4/8) the letter’s distribution on Tuesday. He added that the TV One operation will also see furloughs and/or layoffs.

Among those reportedly dismissed are WNNL-FM/Raleigh PD Jerry Smith, Top 40 Format Director Dustin Kross (overseeing stations in Indianapolis and Houston), Dallas VP/Programming & Operations Marc McCray, and several air personalities.