Softening radio spend amps up downsizing

Canada's largest radio station operator, Montreal-based Astral, cuts jobs in 'challenging' market.

Facing softening ad sales, Astral Media has restructured its English-language radio station business, with the loss of 23 jobs.

Montreal-based Astral, Canada’s largest radio station operator, said the retrenchment, which follows the $1.1 billion acquisition of Standard Radio last year, was done ‘to enhance its competitive position.’

Canadian Broadcast Sales last month reported that national radio advertising sales fell by 1% from September to November. National radio sales is often considered a bellweather for local air-time sales, which accounts for the bulk of Canadian radio station sales.

The move also follows US communications giant Clear Channel Communications shedding 1,850 jobs as an industry-wide advertising slump and growing competition from new digital platforms finally bites into local radio.

Astral Media CEO Ian Greenberg on Jan. 14 told financial analysts that the current Canadian radio market was ‘challenging’ and that job losses at the TV, radio and outdoor advertising company were possible. ‘We monitor this on a monthly basis. It depends on what happens in the economy,’ he said, in reference to consumer sentiment and major advertisers like auto and mobile phone companies shifting into reverse.

From Playback Daily