Slacker Radio, the Rancho Bernardo–based music-subscription service that has tried to compete with Pandora and Spotify but has yet to make a profit in its 14 years as a company, has been sold and its future is unclear.
Slacker announced in April that it was laying off 25 percent of its employees. One of those employees said the layoffs were much greater: about 20 of Slacker’s staff of 45 were terminated, the former employee said.
Slacker owed $148 million at the end of last year. It currently has 1.5 million monthly users.
Attempts to get a response from Slacker marketing representative Jonathan Sasse about the plight of those remaining 25 Slacker employees was not successful.
The former employee said things started going south when founder Dennis Mudd left in 2009. “People really loved Dennis. He really cared about the staff and the company.”
Slacker was dealt a huge blow when Samsung eliminated its Milk Music feature, which relied on Slacker for programming.
The company was purchased by LiveXLive, a Beverly Hills company that specializes in streaming live music festivals.
Slacker has long served as a place where local DJs could work after they lost their jobs in traditional radio. Kevin Stapleford, 91X program director from 1989-1995, has been Slacker’s director of programming for four years. Former 91X DJ Jennifer White has also been employed as a Slacker programmer. Mat “Diablo” Bates became a Slacker programmer after leaving the 91X morning show in 2010 (he is now program director of KFOG, San Francisco).