Media Insider: iHeartMedia Initiates Layoffs, NBC Unveils Streaming Service, Economist Names President

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

Media Insider Jan 17, 2020 - Graphic image of a microphone with blue background

‘The Culling Has Begun’: Inside the iHeartMedia Layoffs

This week, iHeartMedia announced a “new organizational structure” and initiated mass layoffs across its small and medium markets in a big blow to local radio. For some employees, the writing was on the wall, but for others, like those positioned at top radio stations, the layoffs came as a shock. Karen Slade, vice president of independently-owned KJLH in Los Angeles, stated in a 2019 interview: “We’ve gotten so far from local owners that radio is almost unrecognizable now. It’s dominated by massive corporate structures, and the communities that we need to service get lost in the shuffle between the giants.” iHeartMedia declined to comment on the number of layoffs but stated in the email to its employees: “There will be some employee dislocation — some by geography and some by function — which is the unfortunate price we pay to modernize the company.”

ICYMI: Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media Group Sells Spin and Stereogum.

Peacock, NBC’s new streaming service, won’t have Baby Yoda. But it will have ads.

NBC unveiled its new streaming service, Peacock. Comcast is launching Peacock in response to losing access to other streaming services, like Hulu, where NBCUniversal used to offer its old TV shows. Peacock also will offer viewers exclusive content such as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Peacock is expected to offer tiers of service like other streaming options, but its main emphasis will be on offering free videos and serving up ads alongside them to build revenue. Peacock will be rolled out in April with, like most new endeavors, limited content and will evolve with time.

Need help navigating TV streaming subscriptions? Check out this article from The New York Times.

The Economist Group names former Atlantic executive Bob Cohn as President, The Economist

The Economist appointed Bob Cohn as President/Managing Director. Cohn comes from The Atlantic after 10 years of achieving record high revenues and launching a digital subscription program. The Economist chose Cohn to assist in executing its ambitious 2020 plans related to the U.S. presidential election and the launch of new products and marketing campaigns. Cohn will be responsible for managing the core newspaper business, expanding subscriptions, developing new digital offerings, and identifying commercial opportunities in North America.

G/O Media workers requested a change in management in a letter to owners.

The Atlantic expands publication of short stories, with launch of Fiction section

The Atlantic is committing to regularly publishing original short fiction on the new Fiction section of its website. The expansion will be led by senior editor Thomas Gebremedhin and debut with “Birdie” by Lauren Groff. Executive Editor Adrienne LaFrance explains why The Atlantic sees a need for more fiction: “The thinning of print magazines this century has often meant a culling of fiction. There has sometimes been a vague sense that rapid technological change would push people toward nonfiction instead; that concrete facts might be valued over imaginative exploration and existential truth.”

Newsrooms across the world experiment with live news by bringing journalism to the theater.

Guardian closes Cities section as non-profit funding ends after six years

The Guardian is closing its Cities section as six years of grant funding from the Rockefeller Foundation comes to an end. Since funding began in January 2014, Guardian Cities has won many awards for its coverage of topics surrounding urban environments and climate change. The funding gave the Cities section independence and the freedom to stray from the news agenda with long-form pieces. The Guardian reports that staff members at the Cities section have been moved into other roles at the publication.

The Guardian also announced its new CEO, neuroscientist and former academic publisher Annette Thomas.

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Erin Wade is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and aspiring world traveler. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @TotalCSR.

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