Cumulus Media employees can return in force on Oct. 11, with a catch.
CEO Mary Berner stated in a video message that all employees “must be fully vaccinated” by the official return-to-office date. Employees designated “permanent remote” do not have to get the vaccine. All Access reached out to Cumulus for a comment and told the site they are not giving one at this time.
Berner cited growing concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19 as a contributing factor to the decision.
In the video, Berner said, “All employees, except for those few who are already designated permanent remote like our traffic organization, must be fully vaccinated by our grand reopening date.”
Cumulus Media is the first known radio broadcasting company to institute a vaccine mandate. The entire salesforce at Cumulus and corporate employees in their New York and Atlanta corporate offices fall under this umbrella.
Berner noted that a large majority of Cumulus employees have already received the vaccine. “There will be no exceptions unless it’s mandated by law,” Berner continued in the video. “If you are someone who has not made that choice, it is for your own protection.”
Cumulus Media is involved with 413 stations across 86 markets, on top of their oversight of Westwood One. As of December 2019, Cumulus employed 4,732 people, 3,139 of which are full-time staffers.
Cumulus is stepping into uncharted waters in the audio industry with this move. Other entities like Audacy mandated the vaccine for new employees, but have not done so for employees hired before the vaccines became widely available.
CNN has already fired three unvaccinated employees who did not comply with their vaccine advisory — which CNN requires for employees who want to work from the office. NBCUniversal has the same advisory in place for their in-office workers as well.
A Townsquare Media executive confirmed to Streamline Publishing that the company has “encouraged our team to get vaccinated given the benefits and protection it provides from COVID-19. We have provided [Paid Time Off] to allow the time to get vaccinated. But, we have not mandated it as a condition of employment.”
It’s been all quiet on this front for iHeartMedia. The company hasn’t issued any advisories, mandates, or statements regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and its employees.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Rob Dibble, 97.9 ESPN Help Collect Nearly 5,000 Turkeys
“This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”
The station, along with other iHeart Connecticut stations, also raised more than $189,000 during the 23rd annual Turkey Tuesday at Connecticut Foodshare’s headquarters.
“We are continually grateful of the outpouring of donations from our listeners and Connecticut community on our annual events to ensure a Thanksgiving for all,” said iHeartMedia Hartford and New Haven Vice President of Marketing Vanessa Wojtusiak. “This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”
Dibble has been a longtime support of Connecticut Foodshare, hosting its director Al Marino on his show several times throughout the year to ensure families in Connecticut have access to the food bank.
Danny O’Neil is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously hosted morning and afternoon drive for 710 ESPN Seattle, and served as a reporter for the Seattle Times. He can be reached on Twitter @DannyOneil or by email at Danny@DannyOneil.com.
Ray Didinger Subject of NFL Films Feature, Tells Angelo Cataldi He’s Stayed Busy in Retirement
Former 94WIP host and Philadelphia Daily News and NBC Sports Philadelphia writer Ray Didinger retired earlier this year, but he told Angelo Cataldi he’s remained busy even though he stepped away from his media career.
“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run. Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”
Didinger hosted shows from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays for 94WIP. In total, he spent more than 50 years covering the NFL before retiring in May.
After Cataldi asked for Didinger’s opinion on the 2022 Eagles, he asked the now-retired reporter if he was still using his yellow notepad. Didinger admitted he does still use the notepad, and Cataldi chastised his former colleague after he said he would retire the notepad. Cataldi joked when he retires after the Eagles season concludes, he hopes to lose co-hosts Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes’ phone numbers.
Didinger will be the subject of an NFL Films feature about his longtime career covering the league. The program will air on FS1 on Friday at 12:30 AM.
Colin Dunlap: ‘Insane’ What Tom Rinaldi Has Done During Last Week
“He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”
It was a banner week for FOX Sports during the Thanksgiving holiday, and no one got more work than the network’s Tom Rinaldi. 93.7 The Fan morning show host Colin Dunlap believes Rinaldi deserves props for his schedule.
“It’s insane what he’s done,” Dunlap said. “I wrote it down and I saw somebody tweet it. Listen to this schedule — and I don’t even know if it’s worth it — but listen to what Tom Rinaldi has done: Wednesday? Qatar. Thursday? Dallas for the Cowboys game. Friday? Back to the US-England match in Qatar. Saturday? In Columbus, Ohio for Michigan/Ohio State. Sunday? Kansas City for the NFL game.
“And then if you’ve gotta guess, he’s gonna be at the American game tomorrow so he’s travelling back to Qatar today. I don’t even travel back and forth to Baltimore like that. He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”
Dunlap, co-host Chris Mack, and producer Adam Crowley then discussed whether FOX Sports was using Rinaldi enough. While noting that he’s travelling to all these locations, they believe he isn’t being utilized enough for the bigger stories he’s been known for.
They also joked about whether Rinaldi was flying back and forth on Rupert Murdoch’s private jet and whether or not that would make life easier.