In a statement issued Tuesday, iHeartMedia, owner of more than 850 radio stations across the U.S., announced a series of restructuring moves that have resulted in numerous layoffs at various stations.
iHeartMedia stations in Bismarck and Minot are affected by the changes.
In Minot, iHeart has laid off KCJB-AM Sports Director Scott Kittel and KZPR-FM morning personality Bromo Abromowitz.
“Just want to let my Facebook family [know] that as of 10:30 this morning [Jan. 14], I am no longer a member of the I-Heart Minot Media family,” Kittel posted on Facebook. “They apparently want to go in another direction.”
“With a heavy heart, I have been let go from IHeartMedia,” Abromowitz posted on Facebook. “I thank EVERYONE for putting up with my lame jokes etc.”
In Bismarck, KBMR-AM 1130 personality Bill Hickok has been laid off.
“I was dislocated from KBMR Bismarck, ND after 17 years of on and off employment with the six stations in our chain,” Hickok said in an email.
There’s no word yet on whether staff members have been laid off at iHeart’s other stations in Dickinson and Grand Forks.
According to the iHeartMedia website, the company operates six stations in Bismarck, six in Minot, four in Grand Forks and three in Dickinson.
Publications such as Billboard and Variety suggest the total layoffs nationwide may be in the 1,000 range, but there’s no official word on the total number of personnel changes from iHeart.
iHeart’s statement Jan. 14 noted the changes represent “a new organizational structure for its Markets Group as it modernizes the company to take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace.”
It appears iHeart is centralizing a number of its operations through “Centers of Excellence” and newly organized divisions, essentially consolidating numerous positions under key personnel at the corporate level and deploying various technology.