Communicorp to cut pay at Today FM and Newstalk as revenue falls


DENIS O’BRIEN’S media firm Communicorp, which owns the national radio stations Today FM and Newstalk, is cutting staff pay in response to the downturn in advertising revenues, employees were told by management yesterday.

Staff at Communicorp’s Irish stations were informed that the company would be cutting 5 per cent of pay for anyone earning less than €50,000 a year and 10 per cent for employees earning more than €50,000 a year.

All employees, including the stations’ high-earning presenters, will be affected by the move.

A spokesman for the company said that it would not be making a statement on the pay cuts.

The company announced the cost-cutting measure in response to the sharp downturn in the media sector and particularly due to the significant decline in advertising revenues.

Communicorp told staff the cuts were necessary to safeguard jobs and that the reductions would come into effect from August 1st.

Staff at Communicorp’s Dublin stations 98FM and Spin 103.8, and at Spin South West, which broadcasts in Clare, Limerick, Kerry and parts of Tipperary and Laois, will also be affected by the pay cuts.

Presenters such as Ian Dempsey, Ray D’Arcy and Matt Cooper at Today FM, and George Hook and Claire Byrne at Newstalk will be among the employees who will see their salaries reduced from next month.

Communicorp owns 44 radio stations in nine countries.

The company made a pretax loss of €1.9 million in 2007, the year for which the most recent accounts are available, an improvement from a pretax loss of €5.4 million posted the previous year. Turnover climbed to €57 million from €47 million during the year. The firm had retained loss of €29.7 million at the end of 2007.

The broadcasting regulator, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), ruled on Monday that Mr O’Brien does not control an “undue” share of the media market with his radio stations and 26 per cent stake in Independent News Media whose titles include the Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent.

The BCI found that his various media investments do not breach its ownership rules.