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Idaho Dispatch

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Investigative Report: Cumulus Media

By • August 27, 2023

Investigative Report: Idaho Dispatch is digging into who owns the newsrooms in Idaho. Who controls what the public sees and hears? Who decides what information is worthy of publishing? What is the culture of these organizations, and what are the factors in their decision-making?

See some of the previous articles in this series here, here, here, here, and here.

Cumulus Media operates 403 radio stations in 85 markets. Their website says they reach a quarter billion listeners every month. They also claim they,

“…deliver nationally-syndicated sports, news, talk, and entertainment programming from iconic brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters, CNN, the AP, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and many other world-class partners across more than 9,400 affiliated stations through Westwood One, the largest audio network in America….”

Cumulus reaches Idahoans through the following local stations:

The Cumulus DEI information is explained,

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At Cumulus, Every Voice Matters. We know that our business is stronger when diverse voices actively contribute.

In 2020, we announced the creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Steering Committee, led by the CEO. This group comprises six members of the company’s Senior Leadership Team. The Committee is responsible for defining and leading the ongoing Cumulus DEI strategy and tactical plans.

The Board of Directors has ultimate oversight of our DEI strategy and the work of the DEI Steering Committee. Since 2021, the Board has received quarterly DEI progress updates.

In 2021, we joined CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a coalition of nearly 2,000 CEOs who have pledged to commit to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We also joined the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) DEI Committee.

In 2022, we engaged a DEI advisory firm to further expand our DEI efforts.

Awareness and Training

Providing resources to raise awareness and increase learning about DEI topics has been central to laying the foundation for our DEI work.

Initiatives to date:
• Intensive 28-day anti-racism program for Senior Leadership Team members
• Professionally facilitated training sessions for our senior leadership, as well as all market and business unit managers, on topics including race and allyship, and managing unconscious bias
• Mandatory companywide DEI training through vignettes for all employees on topics including unconscious bias, anti-racism, and allyship
• Virtual listening sessions with our CEO for BIPOC employees
• Creation of “Celebrating Diversity,” an online group in which employees can discuss DEI training and topics

New for 2023:
• All employees will be required to complete new educational video sessions on topics including tokenism, privilege, and microaggressions along with our annual “Harassment Prevention” training
• Senior leadership, as well as all market and business unit managers, will be required to participate in four live, facilitated sessions with professional trainers on topics including “Barriers and Biases” and “Privilege and Access”
• CEO will conduct additional virtual listening sessions for BIPOC employees
• Plans to launch Employee Resource Groups

You can find additional information about Cumulus including ESG, hiring and promotion goals and practices, the Workplace Environment, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Index, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Index, and more outlined in detail in their Sustainability Report and on their webpage explaining the company values.

2023 Corporate Sustainability Report:


Cumulus has been in the news over the last two years regarding the company’s response to Covid. In August 2021 reported the company had decided to require proof of Covid injections for all employees by October 2021. The article quoted the Cumulus CEO, Mary Berner,

“Berner said the overwhelming majority of Cumulus employees were already vaccinated. “If you are someone who has not made that choice, it’s for your own protection.” “

This article from Radio and Television Business Report noted the unprecedented move and alluded to possible ulterior motives:

“There’s also chatter that the vaccination mandate is also a way for Cumulus to further trim its employee roster as it continues to seek ways to deleverage.

While that’s simply gossip and internet chatter, one thing is clear: Cumulus has taken a step not replicated at its peers.”

The day after the deadline in October 2021, this article from Inside Radio was published. It explains that some Cumulus employees asked for exemptions to the mandate, but were denied. Employees were reporting that both medical and religious accommodations were denied, and they were fired for not complying with the requirement.

It is unknown how many employees left the company or were fired. The Inside Radio article reports,

“Asked how many employees have left due to the vaccine policy, a Cumulus spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on personnel matters.”

“Personalities took to social media to explain to their listeners why they are no longer on the air. “I shouldn’t be bullied or forced to do something I don’t want to do, and that’s exactly what’s going on,” [Cumulus employee Roxanne] Steele wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s very un-American.” “

In May 2023 this article, again by Inside Radio, reports that Cumulus is now being sued over the 2021 mandate. An employee by the name of Bob Boccia claims he was hired in 2021 and was assured that because of his religious beliefs and a medical condition, he would not be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment. According to Boccia, his exemption requests were later denied, and he was fired.

“Boccia joined “News/Talk 98.9” WKIM Memphis as morning show co-host in 2021. During the job interview – and before Cumulus mandated vaccines for employees – Boccia explained to Memphis Market Manager Morgan Bohannon and PD Danni Burnss that he has Crohn’s disease, an incurable autoimmune condition which causes severe inflammation of the intestines, especially the colon and ileum. According to the suit, Boccia explained that he would not get the COVID-19 vaccine due to previous issues with vaccines causing a flare-up of his Crohn’s disease. Before signing his employment contract, Boccia says he also let the managers know he may need to call out sick or work remotely if he had a flare-up. And that as a devout Catholic, his religious beliefs “forbade him from knowingly accepting vaccinations or medications developed using fetal cell lines derived from abortions.” Because of these beliefs, the suit states, Boccia reiterated that he would not get the COVID vaccine.

According to the complaint, Bohannon reassured Boccia that he would not be required to get the COVID vaccination as a condition of his employment.”

This article by Barrett News Media is reporting that Boccia is seeking damages of more than $75,000 and the trial date is set for August 2024 in U.S. District Court in Western Tennessee.


Are there television, newspaper, and radio stations throughout Idaho you would like investigated? Let us know who you would like to see Idaho Dispatch examine and analyze for you.

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Tags: 95.3 The Ticket, 96.9 The Eagle, Bob Boccia, Covid, Covid-19, Cumulus Media, DEI, Diversity, Equity, ESG, Inclusion, KBOI, Kissin 92.3, Magic 97.9, Mary Berner, Radio, Sustainability, Tennessee, U.S. District Court in Western Tennessee, Vaccine Mandate

7 thoughts on “Investigative Report: Cumulus Media

  1. More bold accurate information from ID.

    Whoever owns the media, controls the mindless population. Today in the US and the globe, we witness the instantaneous…, classic battle of good & evil. Freedom or tyranny.

    May God damn the evil left.

  2. I won tickets on-air for a ball game in November 2022 and had to go to the KBOI am 670 station in downtown Boise to pick them up. A year after mandates, there was still signage posted at the station that anyone entering the broadcast booths and the office areas had to be vaccinated. I concluded then that 670 KBOI Cumulus Media is not a friendly environs for independent thinkers and medical freedom advocates. Your article confirms that.

  3. An interesting piece considering how bad Shelman and his station hate the Ada County GOP and are aligning themselves with Dorothy Moon in that aspect.

  4. Duane Hagadone was our local version of the Boss Hogg character from the Dukes of Hazzard. He died some years ago, may he rest in peace, and North Idaho move on from his political domination.

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