media deathwatch

Radio Joins the Layoff Bandwagon

Today, newspapers are continuing their introspection, wondering how they ended up here and brainstorming rescue plans. Meanwhile, magazine ad sales are down and their parent companies aren’t paying the bills on time, radio is making new rounds of layoffs, Websites are trimming the fat, and TV hosts are, fittingly, cracking jokes. Except that they’re not in such great shape, either, as their human-resource hands are getting axed since nobody’s hiring. There wasn’t even one of those “Hey! Good news!” pieces about a blog in the mix today.

• The New York Times just can’t stop reporting on its own demise. Today’s paper included the story, “The Newspaper Bubble, Too, Has Burst,” (duh) pointing out, as we did on Monday, the similarities between its unfortunate debt problems and those of the average American homeowner. As the story explains, in the year(s) preceding this one, investors and moguls borrowed heavy sums of money to invest in the newspaper, an ailing product. Notably, there’s Sam Zell, who borrowed multi-millions to buy the now-bankrupt Tribune Co.; the McClatchy Company, which bought the now-for-sale Miami Herald; and investors who borrowed money to finance the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, which are now cutting staffers. The real-estate market, however, may have the upper hand here: We’re all going to need shelter for the foreseeable future, but can we say the same about newspapers? (Don’t answer that.) [NYT]

• American Media, home of such reputable periodicals as Star magazine and the National Enquirer, hasn’t been paying its bills. After the Tribune Co.’s recent troubles, many pessimistic insiders are speculating that the gossipy writing is on the wall for American Media. [NYP]

• An Observer piece asks: “[D]oes the Times have any idea how dire their situation really is?” At a meeting this week, Times Company spokespeople and financial analysts commended the paper for cutting costs and maintaining quality as well as expanding its online presence. The Times apologists blame the times (ha!) for the paper’s problems. [NYO]

• Condé Nast is cutting its flacks. At GQ, publicist Beth Andrews is out; at Gourmet, publicists Karen Danick and James Humphrey have been laid off. And even Fairchild vet Andrea Kaplan has been released. [NYP]

BusinessWeek predicts that, in order to pay back debts and restructure in financially beneficial ways, newspapers might be consolidating next year. [BusinessWeek]

• Celeb weekly OK! has been losing millions of dollars in not-selling. Earlier this year, in an attempt to remedy its financial troubles, the mag raised its newsstand price to $3.49. But, uh, that didn’t work. So, Plan B: It’s now slashing its price to $2.99. [NYP]

• There are rumblings that Time is shuttering its Canadian edition. [Gawker]

• As hiring has been rather inactive lately, talent hunters and hiring scouts at CNN and NBC are now being fired. [NYP]

• Aaron Gell, executive editor at Radar before the magazine folded, is throwing a very special holiday party at Ella for media men and women who find themselves out of a job this holiday season. Gell dubs his organization the American Society of Shit-canned Media Elites (like the ASME, the American Society of Magazine Editors, but, well, not). Thankfully, it’s open bar from 8 to 9, with $5 drink specials after that.

• The monthly magazines that are still standing aren’t having the best year either. Even with a flashy (literally) cover, Esquire, is down 15 percent in ad pages, the Atlantic 17 percent, and Vanity Fair 15 percent. But compared to some media companies, those numbers aren’t so bad. [NYO]

NPR announced it will be laying off 7 percent of its staff and cutting expenses. We’re assuming the news was delivered in dulcet tones. [FishbowlDC/Mediabistro]

Radio Joins the Layoff Bandwagon