Australian Radio Network to stand down multiple staffers
The economic impact of Australia’s weak advertising market isn’t lost on radio.
This week Australian Radio Network is preparing to stand down multiple staffers for up to three months, affecting about 5% of employees across most divisions and offices.
Radio rival Southern Cross Austereo also stood down multiple staffers in April to reduce its payroll liability in a bid to survive the economic impact of the pandemic.
ARN’s decision comes after a company-wide review by the broadcaster to evaluate areas of the business that will bounce back fast after the post-pandemic recovery, Radio Today can reveal.
When contacted by Radio Today, a spokesperson confirmed the review and stand-downs.
“ARN is making some changes this week to both streamline and strengthens the business due to the effects of COVID-19,” the spokesperson said.
“As a result, we’re currently in consultation with a small percentage of impacted staff regarding a proposed JobKeeper stand down for the next few months.
“For privacy reasons and to minimise any difficulty from these changes on our teams, we won’t release further details until it is finalised later this week.”
ARN declined to confirm how many people would be affected, as conversations are ongoing.
Radio Today also understands that ARN management is confident there will be no further stand-downs in the coming months and that some heads will be redeployed within the business.
Ad revenue for the HT&E-owned ARN fell more than 40% in April this year as the broadcaster slashed overheads, reduced pay and working hours and applied for JobKeeper.
ARN’s first-quarter billings were down 7.2% between January and March, a stronger bill of health than the industry-wide figure of 12.4% reported by Commercial Radio Australia.
HT&E also revealed that it found operational savings of between $20 million and $23 million, as it looks to keep the balance sheet positive during uncertain times.