The axe fell once again on Glenn Beck’s crumbling media empire Thursday as employees in the New York and Washington offices of The Blaze, Beck’s multi-media online operation, along with business staffers in Los Angeles and the documentary unit in Columbus, Ohio, were told their jobs are on the chopping block, according to multiple sources who spoke The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity.
Sources estimated that nearly 40 people are being laid off—including about 20 in New York, a dozen in Washington, five in Ohio and two or three working out of the LA office suite of former Blaze CEO Kraig Kitchin—in order to satisfy the requirements of a multimillion-dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.
Ironically, the mass layoffs are occurring shortly after the company hired CNN alumnus Matt Frucci, former executive producer of the cable network’s New Day morning show, to run The Blaze’s television operation in New York—which apparently will no longer exist.
New York-based radio and television personality Buck Sexton will remain with Beck’s operation, according to an informed source, although at least some of Sexton’s production staff are losing their jobs.
Radio industry guru Kitchin, a longtime mentor and business associate of the talented but erratic, radio performer and former Fox News personality, quit as CEO of The Blaze last February as turmoil reigned at the company’s suburban Dallas headquarters.
Kitchin was replaced by digital startup entrepreneur Stewart Padveen, who sources said has been orchestrating the layoffs for the past several weeks.
Padveen was recruited to the company by Jonathan Schreiber, a mysterious figure nicknamed “Voldemort” by staffers, after the Harry Potter villain.
Schreiber, another digital industry denizen who showed up in the fall of 2014 as a consultant, worked his way into Beck’s confidence and was eventually named president of Mercury Radio Arts, Beck’s privately held umbrella company.
A company spokesman said Schreiber unavailable for comment on Thursday’s developments because his wife just gave birth, but sources said the layoff announcements were originally planned for Friday but moved up by a day in an attempt to pre-empt a story by The Daily Beast.
According to sources, Beck’s frequent travel in support of the presidential candidacy of Sen. Ted Cruz, among other distractions, has prevented him from appearing daily on his syndicated radio program and live-streaming television show, resulting in declining advertising revenue for Mercury Radio Arts, Beck’s privately held parent company.
Similarly, said these sources, declining traffic for Glennbeck.com and TheBlaze.com have also resulted in dropping ad revenue—and Padveen was under increasing pressure to meet the requirements of the bank loan, details of which were not available as of this writing.
However shocking to the pink-slipped employees, this latest round of mass firings comes as no surprise to insiders at The Blaze and Mercury Radio Arts, which laid off dozens of employees last May on a day referred to internally as “Black Monday,” around the same time that Beck was purchasing a private jetliner and a $200,000 Maybach sedan.