Tampa's DJ Sandman among more than 20 local iHeartRadio employees laid off this week

The corporate radio giant likes to use the term ‘dislocation.’

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click to enlarge Tampa's DJ Sandman among more than 20 local iHeartRadio employees laid off this week
Photo by Jason Smith (@arapperwithacamera)

On Tuesday, iHeartMedia announced a “new organizational structure” and “technology transformation,” which aims to modernize the company.

And by modernize, we guess iHeart means trading humans for machines. All Access reported that in a memo sent to employees, CEO Bob Pittman wrote that "there will be some employee dislocation -- some by geography and some by function -- which is the unfortunate price we pay to modernize the company.”

A Rolling Stone story set the number of laid off employees at close to 900. A Billboard story features the word “bloodbath” in describing the personnel changes.

The memo went on to discuss how consolidation will create "Centers of Excellence" using artificial intelligence and other technology into hubs that the iHeart claims will "provide a better experience for listeners and business partners and a more efficient process for all of its employees."

In short, Andrew Yang continues to be right.

Music Issue 2017
DJ Sandman's life was hip-hop, and now he's a hometown hero

In Tampa Bay, one of those dislocated voices is that of local hip-hop scene staple DJ Sandman, a 15-year vet of 95.7-FM The Beat, who was one of more than 20 iHeartRadio employees laid off from the Tampa building on Gandy Boulevard.

In a Facebook post, Sandman, who cut his teeth by breaking artists like a then-burgeoning Wu-Tang Clan at USF’s college radio station, detailed how he was told about the lay off by phone.

“I truly appreciate everyone who’s been reaching out to check in on me, and I truly appreciate everyone who has been showing love over all the years,” Sandman wrote. “Also, love to all the friends and co workers along the way..... Was great before and will be great after... the journey continues....”

The loss is a big one for the local hip-hop community as Sandman was one of the only voices on corporate radio to play local artists over the airwaves. Sandman often beat local websites—including CL Tampa Bay—when blogging about the wins local artists like Tom G, who performed at the BET awards (sadly, links to Sandman’s posts have already been scrubbed from The Beat’s website). 

It’s a shame to know that there’ll be less local touch on the radio waves, but we’re sure that Sandman will land on his feet. Salute, sir, your speakers are still the best.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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