Jon Stewart claims that if women athletes were paid better in the U.S., it would have saved WNBA star Brittney Griner from being arrested in Russia.
Griner has remained in a Russian jail since February after airport officials discovered cartridges of hash oil in her suitcase as she attempted to return to the U.S.
“Brittney Griner is top five, WNBA player like she’s an all-time great,” Stewart said on Thursday’s edition of “The Problem with Jon Stewart.”
“… Because of the finances of the WNBA and the payment is in many ways, forced to play overseas as well. It’s how they end up in Russia and China and these other regimes.”
Stewart spoke with NCAA Coach Dawn Staley, who shed light on life playing abroad during the WNBA offseason.
“I played in Spain. I played in Italy. I played in France. I played in Brazil and I honestly, I hated every minute of it. Really. The only reason why I went over is because I wanted to be an Olympian,” Staley admitted.
“I lived out of a suitcase every day. Like I would wash my clothes, fold them, put it back in a suitcase, cause I was ready to go home at any day …. I just feel like — felt like it was just imitating the NBA.”
Staley added that Griner and other players have to go overseas because the paycheck they would receive is five times what players are currently making in the WNBA.
“That’s money on the table that you can’t leave on the table. So Brittney had to do it,” Staley said.
“Brittney, you got a small window to play this game and you have to make as much money as possible in that small window. So you could secure a future, like, you know, there’s not even, you know, there’s not even a future in, you know, in sports as far as women’s sports.”
Kevin Cassidy Named Market Manager at Audacy Chicago After Promotion of Rachel Williamson
“We are confident that Chicago will continue to thrive under Kevin’s guidance.”
Audacy has announced a pair of internal promotions that include a new leader at its Chicago cluster.
Rachel Williamson has been elevated to President of Local Sales Strategy and Innovation for the company. In her new role, she’ll report to Chief Revenue Officer Brian Benedik.
“I am looking forward to working with our incredibly talented leaders across Audacy to continue positioning the company as a premier partner for our advertisers,” said Williamson.
“We are thrilled to move Rachel into this new, important assignment,” said Benedik. “Her leadership experience and expertise with linear and digital audio and video will be a tremendous asset to growing our local business across Audacy.”
Williamson had served as the Market Manager and Regional Vice President of the company since 2020. She oversaw the Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis markets.
As a result of Williamson’s promotion, the company has elevated Kevin Cassidy to Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy Chicago.
“With an impressive multiyear track record of success overseeing our New Orleans cluster, Kevin knows how to grow brands and deliver performance,” said Audacy Region President Brian Purdy. “We are confident that Chicago will continue to thrive under Kevin’s guidance.”
“It has been a remarkable experience representing our New Orleans brands over the last five years,” said Cassidy. “I’m excited to embark on the next chapter of my career and look forward to leading Audacy Chicago’s exceptional portfolio of stations.”
Before being named Market Manager of the company’s New Orleans cluster, he served as the sales manager of the company’s music brands in Dallas.
Westwood One Tabs Collin Jones to Replace Suzanne Grimes As President
“With his deep understanding of both Cumulus Media and Westwood One, Collin is uniquely qualified for this role and is well-prepared to harness the full power of our platform to help Westwood One grow.”
Westwood One has announced Suzanne Grimes has exited her role as President and will be replaced by Collin Jones. Grimes had led the organization for the past eight years.
“I would like to thank Suzanne for her invaluable contributions and her pivotal role in our success. Under her leadership, we launched the top-rated Cumulus Podcast Network, built the multi-platform Westwood One News/Talk franchise, and established the industry-leading Audio Active Group,” Cumulus Media President and CEO Mary Berner said. “Throughout her time with Cumulus, she has been a remarkable leader, colleague, and mentor to many, and we are certain she will accomplish great things wherever she chooses to share her talents next.”
Jones has worked at the company since 2011, and will continue to serve in his current role as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development alongside his new duties as Westwood One President.
“I am excited for the opportunity to expand upon Suzanne’s successes,” Jones said. “Since acquiring Westwood One in 2013, I have been struck by the breadth of its capabilities, the strength of its content and service offerings, and its enormous influence on the broadening audio landscape. I look forward to working day-to-day with Westwood One’s creative, passionate, and talented team to fuel growth and unlock even more value for Cumulus Media and our shareholders.”
In addition to his roles with the company, Jones is the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Board Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Radio Music License Committee.
“With his deep understanding of both Cumulus Media and Westwood One, Collin is uniquely qualified for this role and is well-prepared to harness the full power of our platform to help Westwood One grow,” Berner added. “Collin has consistently demonstrated his savvy business acumen, effective management style, and collaborative spirit, and I have full confidence that he has the skills and the vision to build upon Suzanne’s considerable accomplishments.”
Spotify Announces Massive Companywide Cuts
“The decision to reduce our team size is a hard but crucial step towards forging a stronger, more efficient Spotify for the future.”
Spotify has announced it is reducing its workforce by a whopping 17% in a round of cost-cutting measures.
“I recognize this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions. To be blunt, many smart, talented and hard-working people will be departing us,” CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a letter published to the company’s website.
Ek admitted the company considered making smaller job cuts in 2024 and 2025, but decided it was more feasible to make wide-ranging job eliminations now.
“Considering the gap between our financial goal state and our current operational costs, I decided that a substantial action to rightsize our costs was the best option to accomplish our objectives,” he wrote. “While I am convinced this is the right action for our company, I also understand it will be incredibly painful for our team.”
The cuts from Spotify come after a 6% reduction in force earlier this year eliminated the jobs of 600 within the digital audio company.
Ek argued the decision to eliminate so many jobs was a strategic one for the company, with an eye toward different goals.
“The decision to reduce our team size is a hard but crucial step towards forging a stronger, more efficient Spotify for the future. But it also highlights that we need to change how we work. In Spotify’s early days, our success was hard won. We had limited resources and had to make the most of every asset,” he concluded. “Our ingenuity and creativity were what set us apart. As we’ve grown, we’ve moved too far away from this core principle of resourcefulness.
The Spotify of tomorrow must be defined by being relentlessly resourceful in the ways we operate, innovate, and tackle problems. This kind of resourcefulness transcends the basic definition – it’s about preparing for our next phase, where being lean is not just an option but a necessity.”