The fallout at black-owned Radio One continues with the departure of two top executives, Alejandro A. Claiborne, vice president of marketing for the company, who has given his notice and Lee Michaels, national program director for Syndication One News/Talk, who has already left. Their departures come as the company last week also lost another one of its key employees, talk radio star Joe Madison. Madison, who is ranked one of the top 20 talk radio show hosts in the nation and a recipient of Talkers magazine’s Freedom of Speech Award, will now be working directly for rival XM 169 The Power starting in June. Ouch! That’s is pretty bad, considering that the company just posted a net lost of $18.3 million in its first quarter (two percent revenue dip) and that performance is pretty low. As I wrote in a previous commentary, the losses did not stop the company from providing “substantial” raises for President and CEO Alfred C. Liggins III and his mother Radio One founder and Chairwoman Cathy Hughes last month.
To add insult to injury, earlier this year Radio One ended its more than six-year relationship with XM Satellite Radio’s channel 169 because the company had not made enough money on advertising for the joint venture with the primarily subscription-oriented company.
The company has been hit by declining national revenue, which has forced the company to sell stations in non-core markets. The company’s stock is now trading well under a dollar after losing more than 85 percent of its value since last year. The company owns and operates 53 primarily black targeted radio stations in 16 markets. Radio One is in the middle of expanding its Internet reach.
Isn’t there a problem here? When your executives and your radio personalities start leaving, coupled with a declining stock price as well as a drop in revenue, there is a big problem. I would hate to see Radio One on the market block, but that may just be a real possibility if the company cannot stem the bleeding in its revenues. It seems almost hypocritical that Liggins III and Hughes got rewarded for such horrible performance of the company. Yes, advertising revenues are declining across the board for many newspapers and some media companies, but someone seemed to have dropped the ball on the company’s overall performance. There is something very telling when a popular radio personality such as Joe Madison tenders his resignation and two top executives have done the same thing. For what it is worth, Radio One serves a tremendously important position in the black community and many people would hate to see it bought out or fold. Just my thoughts, you be the judge….