Thanks to a tip via the Ogle Mole Network, we're learned that layoffs and a big staff upheaval have hit the group responsible for operations at Tower Theatre, along with its partner venues Pony Boy and Beer City Music Hall.
According to our Moles, the operating group behind Tower Theatre – the landmark on NW 23rd St. that anchors the uptown district – has fired at least nine people over the past couple weeks, while other employees claim they’ve had to re-interview for jobs and/or face demotions and pay cuts.
In addition to that, Stephen Tyler – co-operator of the facility – has stepped down from day-to-day duties, leaving popular OKC social media grandstander Chad Whitehead as the main person in charge of things.
According to a screenshot we obtained via an internal Slack Channel, on March 1, Chad announced Stephen was leaving his “day-to-day” role with the theatre and the company was having to “say goodbye to some outstanding team members.”
Chad also explained the decision was an “immediate and necessary financial move” to keep the business from losing everything.
Check this out:
Yeah, that’s not a surprise.
Tower Theatre has always seemed a bit too focused on political and cultural engagement and being liked by the left-wing crowd on social media, so it’s probably good for them to switch to a business model that will actually focus on being a successful business.
In the last paragraph of his Slack post, you may notice Chad mentioned that something called SaveLive – an out-of-state venture capital group – is 100% behind them on his decision.
Here’s how Chad justified his decision to partner with out-of-state venture capitalists in a Gazette column:
With the help of our partners at SaveLive, a music startup co-founded by Marc Geiger, the former Global Head of Music for the largest booking agency in the world and co-founder of Lollapalooza, we now have the financial and structural backing to continue what we do best — bring first-class music to OKC.
The people at SaveLive aren’t a group of khaki-wearing, corporate overlords, but a hard-working team of music business professionals that are serious about transforming the industry and developing artists. From my first conversation with Geiger up to the time you’re reading this, the focus has always been on partnering together.
“If you bought the best restaurants, would you fire the chef and the maître d' and change the menu and the name? I wouldn’t. I’d protect the shit out of them,” Geiger said on our first phone call.
Well, so much for all that protection, recently laid off Tower employees!
According to the Ogle Mole Network, the venture capitalists at SaveLive are the ones behind the push for Tower to be more “financially successful.” They’ve invested in 16 “independent” music venues around the country, and apparently want them all to operate and function under a duplicable SaveLive framework.
Although the partnership with SaveLive hasn’t worked out too well for some longtime Tower employees, it does seem like it’s been a good deal for Chad.
In addition to getting funding to keep the place open, he’s also apparently partnered with a couple of other SaveLive employees to create a company called Patchwork Presents – ”a talent buying, event promotion, and consulting company.”
I’m honestly not sure how or why Chad is the operator of Tower, and also a partner in a company that apparently books shows at the Tower. That seems like a double-dipping conflict of interest, but what do I know? If anyone has any thoughts or opinions about it, leave a comment or shoot us an email.
Also, if you’re one of the Tower employees who were recently laid off, my heart goes out to you. It’s happened to me before and is an all around shitty deal, even if it winds up being one of the best things to happen to your career.