Audacy has laid off a dozen people at Pineapple Street Studios, or what Bloomberg reports is a quarter of the staff at the division that produces shows such as the recent hit Ghost Story and several television-focused series with partners like HBO, Max, and Netflix. The studio has also in recent months been increasingly focused on branded shows.
“We are continuing to optimize our structure to align with the podcast market opportunity and set us up for continued growth,” an Audacy rep said. “Unfortunately, that means reducing the size of some of our teams, and we have made the difficult decision to reduce a portion of our Pineapple staff.”
The layoffs come as Audacy remains locked in contract negotiations with the Writers Guild of America-East. Pineapple Street employees voted in October 2022 to join the WGAE and it has yet to reach a deal on a contract. Employees are looking for guarantees that the company will not use monitoring software to track cursor movements, time spent on apps, and other data.
WGAE said the dozen Pineapple Street employees may yet benefit from the union push. “Our colleagues deserve so much better, and we are prepared to fight for a severance package that reflects and honors the tremendous work they’ve done for this company,” the union said in a post on social media.
The layoffs come just weeks after Audacy filed for bankruptcy. Its plans to restructure its balance sheet and slash its total debt from $1.9 billion to $350 million in a reorganization that will see Audacy’s creditors turn their debt into ownership positions in the company. Despite the arduous bankruptcy process, Audacy has said it will continue to operate “business as usual” and called its “complementary positions in podcasting” part of a strategic transformation of the radio company during the past several years.