ARN implements cuts for staff, on-air talent and board in response to COVID-19

Australian Radio Network (ARN) will move staff to four-day weeks and reduce management and board salaries by 20% in a bid to curtail the economic impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

In addition, on-air talent, including Kyle Sandilands, Jackie ‘O’ Henderson, Brendan ‘Jonesy’ Jones, Christian O’Connell and Amanda Keller, will take a minimum 10% reduction in their fees, while continuing to work five-day weeks.

ARN’s network of audio brands

Staff moving to four-day weeks can access annual leave entitlements to help offset the impact on their take-home pay, as long as they have sufficient leave accrued. ARN said staff will be allowed to take a portion of lave in advance of earning it. Mumbrella understands these measures will be reviewed in three months and are set to be corrected when the market allows for it. It is not yet clear how much negative leave staff can utilise before it becomes unpaid, but Mumbrella has asked the question.

The board, CEO Ciaran Davis and management team will take a 20% reduction in salaries for a six-month period, and will forego all incentive and bonus payments in 2020.

There is also a review on discretionary spending and a hold on recruitment.

ARN said since March, it had already significantly reduced costs across the business to protect jobs, but additional action is now required. Davis noted Australia is facing a widespread fall in marketing and advertising activity, and the response will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as its revenue performance becomes clearer.

“Although ARN is in a strong position, like all media businesses our revenue has been significantly impacted by COVID-19,” Davis said in a statement.

Davis: Taking a 20% cut

“The priority of the board and management team is the safety and wellbeing of our staff. These decisive measures have been out in place to protect jobs and ensure ARN remains in a strong position as a stable business – and employer – in the long term.”

He added: “I am confident the measures we have implemented today will put ARN in the strongest position possible to endure and succeed in these uncertain times.”

Despite the challenges, David pointed to the power of radio at this challenging time and thanked the teams around him for their commitment.

“I’d like to thank all our team members for ensuring that our recent transition to working from home has been controlled and managed effectively. ARN’s technology investments have meant our radio broadcasts have been unaffected and even under any potential tightening of lock-down measures across the community, ARN is confident all of our shows will remain broadcasting uninterrupted across our network,” he said.

“During times when the nation needs a sense of community, connection and some normality, the power of radio is undisputed and we remain dedicated to producing the best possible content for our audiences and delivering solutions to our clients across broadcast, radio, on-demand audio, and digital.”

Last week it was announced ARN’s chief marketing officer Anthony Xydis was leaving.

Other media companies including Seven, Ten, Ooh Media, SCA and News Corp have implemented similar measures in recent days and weeks.


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