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Clear Channel Goes Private and Streamlined

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the folding-in-on-itself dept.

94

7Prime writes "Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nations largest radio, billboard, and entertainment outlet, announced their intention this morning to sell the company to a consortium of private-equity firms for over $26 billion. In addition, Clear Channel's TV division, as well as its smallest 448 radio stations would be sold out of the company and will be looking for potential buyers." From the article: "The buyers, led by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, also are bidding for Tribune Co., which owns several newspapers and television stations. That process is ongoing. If Bain and Lee purchase Tribune, they may be forced to sell certain newspapers and television stations to comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations that prohibit one company from owning a newspaper and radio or television station in the same city. The buyers paid $37.60 per share for Clear Channel, the highest price the stock has seen since mid-2004, and a 25 percent premium on the stock's average price in October. The purchase price includes the assumption of about $8 billion in debt."

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94 comments

The End of the Beginning? (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877054)

Here's a note I sent to the KHYI-Fans [yahoo.com] email list, a group of fans of independent alt-country station KHYI [khyi.com] (and others) in Dallas:
As Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." Clear Channel, the company that took advantage of greed and laziness in the radio biz and used it to buy over a thousand formerly independent radio stations, is in the process of being bought out itself.

Don't expect to hear good music on the radio again right away, but according to the AP wire, CC is already planning to sell of 448 of its 1,150 radio stations and all of its 48 TV stations. They're all in small markets, and together make up only 10% of CC's revenue. But putting those stations back in local hands -- even if they're still part of some corporate portfolio -- will give good music an opportunity to start eating at the edges. And "702 radio stations" had a decidedly less impressive ring than "Over 1,100 stations" -- meaning that CC won't have the same ability to push advertisers around.

On the down side, CC is likely to be bought out by a private investor group. That means that they won't be subject to the financial disclosure requirements that publicly traded companies must comply with, so the company will become even less transparent than before. But with dwindling influence both in market share and in Washington, it may not matter anyway.

It's the end of the beginning, but the end of corporate radio can't come soon enough.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (4, Insightful)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877146)

Don't expect to hear good music on the radio again right away

You know, the LAST time I heard good music on commercial radio was probably 1984. I wouldn't necessarily blame all of the crappy music on Clear Channel. Blame it on the desire to "please most of the people most of the time".

Re:The End of the Beginning? (5, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877270)

Clear Channel + Major Labels were a kind of unholy feedback loop of genericizing music. The labels knew that they could hit one target and have their music played in every single market, so they had no reason to try to create music for minor tastes. In fact Clear Channel would rather try to play the same music in every market, and knew that the labels would test for what made the most generically popular music. That made the music even more generic, which made aggregating the radio stations even more profitable.

It didn't help that with the lack of really independent radio stations, there didn't seem to be anybody willing to call Clear Channel and the labels on payola, which is an open secret in the music industry. Everybody knows, and it's illegal, but since the only people involved are profiting, nobody sues. The ones who would sue are already out of business, or recognize that they don't have the kind of money it would take to call Clear Channel and the labels to task.

So it's not just the desire to please most of the people; it's the fact that pleasing most of the people most of the time is so very profitable, especially when you can take a community good like the airwaves (the single best way to advertise music) and deprive the community a chance to use it.

This isn't going to change anything any time soon. This is just them recognizing that smaller markets aren't profitable. Independent bands and labels still will have a hard time getting air play, because it'll still be a challenge to find the niches.

Too little & too late (2, Insightful)

crovira (10242) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879084)

The broadcast model of communication is clearly dying as too few channels producing too little content and being too used to outrageous profit margins on costs based on too small a market. (notice the word consumer is absent from this little tirade.) The blockbuster is dead. Long live pod (Portable On Demand) casting.

ClearChannel is not about music (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16881606)

In fact Clear Channel would rather try to play the same music in every market, ...

Maybe the corrected statement should reach In fact Clear Channel would rather try to play the same recording in every market

ClearChannel is not about music or "entertainment". It's about delivering advertising to your ears. You should be able to figure that out from its actions: just enough filler between the ads.

Back when the company was still prefering to keep a low profile, I stumbled across a rare interview with one of the top executives. He confirmed what I suspected even back then by saying flat out that ClearChannel was about advertising and if they could get by without music, they would.

It didn't help that with the lack of really independent radio stations

From it's start, up until sometime around the epicenter of the Reagan years, radio had been about public service. There used to be many, many local and regional stations. Most large high schools and many small ones even had their own broadcasting stations. All these low power stations were banned in prep for media consolidation. High power equipment required by law now is neither cheap to acquire nor operate.

Before that consolidatoin, news was largely about passing information about current events, not pushing an agenda, propagandizing or preaching. Music and such was played because people liked it, not because a cartel was promoting. There was even other entertainment like serials and radio theater. I must be old, I can recall when the weatherman/woman stood off to the side and didn't block the weather map.
Yeah. Looking back it seems rather naive and no it wasn't perfect, but there was significantly more substance.

We still think of it that way, though that world is long gone and replaced long since by corporate output. Very few want to admit how bad it has become, it's much more comfortable to pretend otherwise. Even fewer want to 'rock the boat' and shape it back into something useful. Net radio might be the opportunity.

Re:ClearChannel is not about music (2, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16883488)

Absolutely. The same thing happens in TV. You're not the network's customer. The advertiser is the customer. You're the product. The music/news/whatever they're broadcasting is a capital expense to ensure a supply of product, and like any company they want to maximize return on capital by minimizing expenses.

I'm nearly 40 but I'm not old enough to remember a day when that wasn't true. They've gotten better at it, or perhaps just realized that they could farm up their product with less work (the 44 minutes a TV show lasts now, compared to 55 back in the 60s).

I'm hoping the Web will take these guys out as soon as possible.

The way forward is without DRM (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 7 years ago | (#16887128)

I recall that on the US network channel that won the bid for a monopoly on broadcasting the 1996 Olympics an hour of prime time TV contained about 7 minutes of actual sports. The few shows I see nowadays, I see without ads. On US commercial network tv these shows take an hour. Without the ads, they're about 35 minutes, less if you skip the intro music and closing credits.

The web does have the potential to take those guys out, but they key is to promote DRM-free technology and open standards. If we get into a situation on the web where access is controlled by other than the audience, then we have the same mess as with television and radio...

Re:The End of the Beginning? (1)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16914284)

This is why I'm listening to the local University music station 90% of the time.

By some miricle, they're not into the "payola" thing and they don't have advertistng. (I know my spelling sucks)

so sometimes they pay really crazy farout music, but most of the time, it's really, really good.

Cheers
Ben

Re:The End of the Beginning? (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877584)

That's why radio is on the decline. I can't stand listening to radio anymore. They loop whatever 10 songs that are popular at the moment, every day, in the morning, in the evening, the same f-ing songs! Thank god my commute to work is only 10 minutes. I built myself an iPod hookup to my car, and I listen to my iPod in shuffle mode. It's much better than listening to song X for the millionth time.

If my commute was longer than 30 minutes each way, I would definitely get Sirius satellite radio. I find it a big pain to swap music in and out of my iPod, since my iPod isn't big enough to hold my music collection. Also, since I don't listen to the radio anymore, I don't hear any new music. I do have to switch to regular crappy radio to hear some of the new stuff that's out.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877860)

blame it on the fucking idiot-tards, in their idiot-tard cars, who play their idiot-tard music up at full blast, while NOT driving the speed limit..

Oh, what a lucky man he was (2, Interesting)

jmb-d (322230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878518)

I can't abide pop music. Top-40 radio is horrid. Blathering, inane DJs suck.

Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to live within the broadcast region of WRNR [wrnr.com], an independent station. There's no playlist -- the DJs are free to play whatever they want. Refreshing, that.

If only they did a streaming broadcast...

Re:The End of the Beginning? (1, Interesting)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877316)

As a Dixie Chick fan, I'm not surprised you're happy to see Clear Channel retreating [if that is in fact what's happening here?].

I hope this brings about a new age in American radio and billboards, where there's less group-think, and more think-think.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (2)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877402)

As a Dixie Chick fan, I'm not surprised you're happy to see Clear Channel retreating [if that is in fact what's happening here?].

You betcha. Not that it would help with the current album, which is stylistically all over the place (with the possible exception of Country). But "Travelin' Soldier" didn't deserve to get thrown off the charts in 2003 just because Bush and his buddies needed a straw man (woman?) to distract voters. (I may need to get one of your products [abandonedstuff.com] after all...)

Oh, by the way, I would like to thank you and your fellow Canadians for supporting the Chicks' "Hey, we're still here!" tour! Their seven (count 'em!) kids won't go hungry after all.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (2, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878048)

But "Travelin' Soldier" didn't deserve to get thrown off the charts in 2003 just because Bush and his buddies needed a straw man (woman?) to distract voters.

I didn't stop listening to the DCs because of ANYTHING the Bush administration had to say; those ninnies will be lucky just to hold the White House. I just didn't care for the way it went down. They're free to say whatever they'd like; my dad fought for that freedom. IMHO, the DCs were playing to the crowd. This happened in London, during a time when the war was really unpopular there. They wanted to score brownie points with the crowd, and by all accounts did so. Yay for them.

HOWEVER:

If their fans here in the US have a problem with that statement {or the retraction....or the reinstatement...}, and vote with their pocketbooks, that's our right. I'm not trying to censor speech, just the opposite. However, just as I disagree with Louis Farrakhan, David Duke, and refuse to buy their material, I reserve the same right with the DCs.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879122)

The problem is that clear channel refused to play their songs altogether. If the consumer wanted to listen to them they didn't have that choice.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879270)

That's just the tip of the iceberg. After September 11th they "suggested" to the channels to basically not play any song that mentioned an airplane or had "questionable" lyrics. It wasn't an outright ban but I'm going to guess that songs on that list got a lot less playtime and considering that the list included "all songs" by Rage Against the Machine I'm glad that Clear Channel no longer has the power to heavyhand itself.

Re:The End of the Beginning? (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878220)

It's too bad someone moderated you offtopic, because they don't understand that the Dixie Chicks are at the heart of what's wrong with American radio operation. The Top can tell the Fans what they are going to listen to, and why. There would have been minimal outrage in even the "country" states if radio Clear Channel radio stations hadn't been ordered to hype the "I'm ashamed Bush is from Texas" comment.

Good Music (1)

slizz (822222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877682)

To quote Stephen Colbert (from memory, from when he was on TDS): "The problem with music today isn't that it's offensive. It's that it sucks."

Re:The End of the Beginning? (2, Interesting)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877794)

I think the consolidation of local radio stations is partially to blame for the decrease in CD sales that the record companies have been complaining about. For most people radio is the primary means of finding new music and when most of the stations in your market play the same top 40 crap day in and day out, you're exposed to less music and you'll probably by less music by extension. It's clearly not the only problem plauging the music industry but I'm certain it plays a large role.

I never listen to the radio anymore because I get tired of hearing the same stuff over and over and as a result I by less music because I'm exposed to less music.

Sick of Media Behemoths? (4, Funny)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877174)

Like CC, Time-Warner, Slashdot? Boyc


...connection terminated.

Re:Sick of Media Behemoths? (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16890904)

Slashdot isn't a Media "Behemoth". It's an aggregator. OSTG is a "behemoth", but Slashdot is mostly independently controlled. OSTG just puts up ads.

In other news... (4, Funny)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877176)

Due to recent budget cuts, Clear Channel has reduced the size of their song lineup. Instead of playing 10 different a day, the stations will now loop the latest Coldplay single 24/7.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16878198)

Hey, I happen to like most of their music you insensitive clod. What would be rel torture is having to listen to Britney Smears constantly. ;)

Politics? Should be Religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877208)

Clear Channel = Christian Coalition

Guess they finally see that censorship does not make money, but instead looses money. I wonder if their heads are still shoved up their collective asses.

So long Clear Channel and good riddance.

Re:Politics? Should be Religion (1, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877264)

Hmm. What's wrong with Clear Channel being Christian, assuming you're correct? Isn't that their right?

Re:Politics? Should be Religion (2, Insightful)

Kenyon (4231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878808)

Yeah, it's also his right to think that they're wrong to be Christian. That's not wrong, right? LOL.

Re:Politics? Should be Religion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16891866)

I didn't say he didn't have the right. That was his argument about THEM.

Mostly, I was pointing it out due the massive anti-Christian bias on Slashdot that thinks nobody should be allowed to believe in a religion.

Re:Politics? Should be Religion (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16887030)

Clear Channel = Christian Coalition

If that is true, then why are many churches complaining about the moral decay represented on the public airwaves?

The morning Zoo in the Portland OR market (Z100) borders on soft porn in their subject matter. The only thing missing is the pictures.

KTVF... (4, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877238)

I work for a small Clear Channel owned TV station here in Fairbanks, Alaska, KTVF [webcenter11.com], and I found out about this this morning when I came into work. Not a whole lot will change when we get sold (depending upon the owner). Many of the CC TV stations were bought by CC just a few years ago when CC tookover The Akerley Group, of which our station was a member. We have been through 4 different coorporations (statewide and national), in the last 15 or so years... none of the sales having any reliviance to the profits of this station.

So, basically, our website will probably change (since it's currently a Clear Channel developed layout), we will no longer be pushed into the sales promotions that are currently required of us, and our logo will probably have to be changed a bit. I just hope the new boss isn't the same as the old boss... so to speak.

Call me suspicious, but... (2, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877246)

A group of investors wanting to take private some of the largest media companies at high prices and willing to accept large debt for it? I kind of wonder what they expect to get out of it. This kind of a media consolidation at a loss smells of political and not financial motives to me, and I have to wonder if someone's not trying to be the next Rupert Murdoch.

Private back to IPO (1)

tperry1776 (991299) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877378)

The money is made in the transactions. The company, likely will be IPO'd a few years hence, because the money is made in the transaction. One can get rich through financial manipulation that is economically unsound. People are worried about taxes, but they should be worried about having their money stolen through financial manipulations of various kinds.

"They" do it for the money. (2, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877692)

Investors do not take a company private, to the tune of $26 Billion, for "politics".

The do it because they think the publicly traded company is worth more than the market does.

See here [wikipedia.org] for a nice summary.

Re:"They" do it for the money. (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879778)

Investors do not take a company private, to the tune of $26 Billion, for "politics".

Ah my poor, benighted child. When was politics ever about anything but money?

If you don't see the sense in owning the equity and using it to further one's agenda, then I fear you'll be condemned to never have much of either. (Pace, Ben Franklin.)

Re:"They" do it for the money. (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16880048)

Ah my poor, benighted child. When was politics ever about anything but money?

Since forever. Politics is about power, which is only incidentally involved in money.

"Private investors" = Mays Family (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877878)

The group of investors is the Mays family. I am a former employee who still has many contacts there. In another deal, some of their assets will be in new hands, but only a 10% part of it which is under-performing. These include the CC Television and some 448 radio stations.

Re:Call me suspicious, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16878882)

Private Equity is nothing more than pump and dump. Private Equity firms buy companies, roll them back out with large dividends on the stock which they pay out by putting the company in debt. The private equity firms get rich off the dividends, while the company is now saddled with a massive amount of debt.

See here [cnn.com]

Re:Call me suspicious, but... (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879920)

This happens all the time, in every industry. Private equity firms buy public companies at a premium, take them private, shake things up, and sell them to someone else or take them public again. They are betting that they can do better with the company than current management, or chop the company up into smaller parts or put it together with other companies, to unlock value.

Please please please (2, Interesting)

computertheque (823940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877252)

Does this mean that we'll get some decent radio stations back? Clear Channel effectively ruined the radio for me, NPR being the only remaining reason to turn it on.

Re:Please please please (3, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877312)

Well, 445 of the smallest radio stations are being cut loose (about 1/3rd). So there are some local stations that will now be out from CCs thumb (and under someone else's, most likely). You might just get your wish. This effectively cuts the size of CC down by quite a bit, and it takes them out of the tallons of the "I want my money NOW!" shareholders. They have been trying to do this for quite some time, actually. Going private is probably the best thing that has happened to the media industry in years.

Re:Please please please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877332)

Long Live CARTALK!

Re:Please please please (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877356)

Same here, NPR was the only reason to listen the the radio for me. So I switched to Sirius Satellite Radio, where I could hear Howard Stern and specific programming genres. It is currently $13.95 a month, and I would recommend the service to ANYONE who can afford it, especially those with long commutes who yearn for some good, uncensored Talk Radio. The daily show on Howard 100 is better than it has ever been on terrestrial radio, and the lineup of hosts on Howard 101 are entertaining too (especially if you like Nascar, Wrestling, and Football).

Some alternate alternatives (3, Informative)

doom (14564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16880762)

computertheque wrote:
Does this mean that we'll get some decent radio stations back? Clear Channel effectively ruined the radio for me, NPR being the only remaining reason to turn it on.

Well, for me that would be Democracy Now! [democracynow.org], which you can may be able to hear broadcast somewhere, depending on where you live, e.g. KPFA [kpfa.org], in the SF Bay Area, and WBAI [wbai.org] in the New York area. In general, the Pacifica stations do a decent job of "alternative" broadcasting, provided you don't mind the almost exclusively left-wing focus.

Also, there are many, many small college stations (and other non-coms) scattered around, usually located at the bottom of the dial. They also all have internet streams these days:

Enderle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16882602)

Hmm. I'd say the same thing, but lately I noticed that NPR has been narrowing down it's coverage. In the interview about the Dixie Chix, only ClearChannel execs where spoken with and they were the ones who pulled the Dixie Chix in the first place. Lately with the Novell-MS fiasco, NPR interviewed Rob Enderle, no one else, for his pearls of wisdom. Not exactly a promising trend...

And in related news... (2, Interesting)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877276)

... its smallest 448 radio stations would be sold ...
Music fans rejoice. IOW, there's a small chance that, some day, you may be able to find a radio station with Music That Doesn't Suck.

Re:And in related news... (1)

ir (104) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877476)

I think it is too late for terrestrial radio to recover. Satellite radio, streaming audio, and portable music players have completely taken the place of FM radio for about 75% of the people I know. (and the other 25% are just too old or set in their ways to change)

Re:And in related news... (1)

robkill (259732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877912)

... its smallest 448 radio stations would be sold ...
Music fans rejoice. IOW, there's a small chance that, some day, you may be able to find a radio station with Music That Doesn't Suck.
Assuming they aren't sold to one of the remaing three big players (CBS Radio, Entercom, and Citadel). Granted all there are in the ~150 station category, but assuming a three-way split, you have 3 corporations with about 300 radio stations apiece. If these stations are already being run cheaply as "repeaters" of centralized syndicated CC broadcasting, it may be more appealing for the other big 3 to suck them up rather than for independents, who, if they buy them, must invest more heavily in local infrastucture and staff.

Re:And in related news... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878392)

Music fans rejoice. IOW, there's a small chance that, some day, you may be able to find a radio station with Music That Doesn't Suck.

I consistently find radio with Music That Doesn't Suck. But then, I listen to the Classical Music station and the Rock Station That Doesn't Play Anything Newer Than The Mid-80s. :)

Interesting... (3, Insightful)

errxn (108621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877336)

...that this topic is in the 'Politics' section. That may say more about /. than it does about Clear Channel.

Re:Interesting... (2, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879006)

"...that this topic is in the 'Politics' section. That may say more about /. than it does about Clear Channel."

Or perhaps it's just well known that ClearChannel is a big tool of the Bush Administration?

Neil Young did a tour about it...

Re:Interesting... (3, Interesting)

davecarlotub (835831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879202)

Politics? ClearChannel banned the Dixie Chicks records [bizjournals.com] after they spoke out against Bush.

Re:Interesting... (1)

Absentminded-Artist (560582) | more than 7 years ago | (#16881334)

This may look political on the surface, but it was always about business. When an artist voices their opinion consumers get to voice theirs. In the case of the Dixie Chicks many consumers were upset about their political stance during a time of war and threatened to stop listening to the radio if the Chicks weren't pulled. For wrong or right, when enough people clamor about the same point radio stations listen. If people stop listening, then their ratings go down (Arbitron, eg. measures those ratings). If ratings go down, the radio station has to lower their prices for ads. Obviously, that hurts revenue and quarterly earnings. There was also the case of advertisers complaining when their ads ran bumper to Dixie Chicks' music (I don't have a source to cite for that at the moment). So the impetus all around may have been political, but in the end it was only about money. Clear Channel pulled the songs to keep listeners and please advertisers. If people don't like that, they are welcome to start their own radio stations, provided they can raise the capital...

I read on a forum (which I cannot recall the URL of) a comment by a radio programmer concerning the Dixie Chicks. This programmer lamented that the Dixie Chicks made it hard for her radio station to play their music because the girls kept riling up the listener base. FUTK and "Not ready to play nice" were examples of the Dixie Chicks ire and need to thumb their nose at people. Hey, they're welcome to do it. They have freedom of speech. That's what makes our nation strong, but the Dixie Chicks seem to think they can say whatever they want without reprisal. Wouldn't it be nice if Freedom of Speech worked that way, but it doesn't. I always thought they were making a poor business decision to alienate their fan base with their hostile attitudes. At any rate, CC needed to do something to prevent a problem in the revenue stream. And with so many country acts to play the choice was really simple. Good bye, Dixie Chicks.

Only Two Clear Channel Stations ban Dixie Chicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16885902)

Uh....FTA you linked:

The group's records have been pulled by dozens of country-music stations across the country, including two Clear Channel-owned stations in Jacksonville, WQIK 99.1-FM and WROO 107.3-FM.

Only two Clear Channel stations out of "dozens of country-music stations? Not to mention that it doesn't say Clear Channel banned it at all their stations. So perhaps the headline should be: "Only Two Clear Channel Stations Ban Dixie Chicks out of Dozens of Country-Music Stations"

Anti-Trust....the old fashioned way (3, Insightful)

PreacherTom (1000306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877366)

Sounds to me like a case of spontaneous anti-trust. Overall, I think this will be a very good thing for the communications industry. It'll shake things up a bit and hopefully offer some more variety and freshness. That is, of course, unless someone rolls in and buys them all.

Wow! 7 goofy icons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16877376)

Seven goofy icons including "media" and "the media". Way to go Slashdot! Or is that... "the slashdot"?

Mitt Romney gets his own media empire (5, Informative)

Squirmy McPhee (856939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877388)

Bain Capital is a private equity firm that was founded by Mitt Romney, outgoing governor of Massachusetts and 2008 presidential hopeful. (Last year they tried to buy the entire National Hockey League.) I guess we can't really know how meaningful that is until the 2008 election is upon us, but a presidential candidate with his own network of radio stations is courting controversy to say the least.

Re:Mitt Romney gets his own media empire (3, Informative)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879898)

This is just a tiny stretch. Mitt founded Bain but he doesn't have any control of the organization now. He is not even a member of the firm at this point. Not to mention Bain is only one of a number of private equity firms in the consortium that's purchasing Clear Channel.

Re:Mitt Romney gets his own media empire (1)

James.Stanton (819324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16885122)

Not a stretch at all... You think the founder of the company doesn't still have friends there? You think they won't be sympathetic to the old boss' presidential campaign?

Plus, he couldn't buy it himself - its not like Bush owns News Corp (i.e. Fox News) - Murdoch does his bidding for him, to get around equal time and campaign finance laws.

'Clear Channel?' Phew.. for a moment there.. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877406)

.. I thought the Church of Scientology had got its own TV network.

Why is this here? (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877462)

and don't give me the 'stuff that matter' excuse either.

I'm pretty liberal about what comes on, but how is this related to a techno nerd/geek site?

In Michigan a man was arrested for having sex with hios girlfriends dead dog in full view of a preschool, but I don't expect that to be on slashdot either.

Re:Why is this here? (1)

FredK (140786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877624)

In Michigan a man was arrested for having sex with hios girlfriends dead dog in full view of a preschool, but I don't expect that to be on slashdot either.

Link? Preferably with pictures!

Re:Why is this here? (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877646)

Take a deep breath. Nobody is forcing you to read Slashdot, read this article or even enter the thread you're bitching about to post an utterly useless comment *.

If it doesn't interest you, skip to the next article. Problem solved!

Or did you come in here with the expectation that a like-minded individual with mod points would spot you

* Yes, I'm aware my comment is utterly useless as well, I just hope it serves as a reminder for the next jackass with the same opinion

Radio (Used To) ==Geek (2, Insightful)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877712)

>how is this related to a techno nerd/geek site?

Back in the day, nerdness was all about radio and other homebrew electronics. That morphed into computers, and here we are. Ownership of radio, teevee, computer, and telecom companies has always been fair game for discussion here.

>In Michigan a man was arrested for having sex with hios girlfriends dead dog in full view of a preschool, but I don't expect that to be on slashdot either.

Yet somehow it made it onto Slashdot after all. Go figure.

Re:Why is this here? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877728)

The remarkable shittiness of Clear Channel stations and formatted radio helped drive the many (tech/geeky at first)alternatives we have today.
We are in their debt for being so awful that the hole they left in the market fit satellite radio!

It won't be private long (1)

kalpol (714519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877628)

It will be private just long enough to reorganize and cut the fat and then hello, IPO. Same thing with Freescale and a couple of other big companies just bought by private equity firms.

I wonder if (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877656)

since the republican controlled congress pretty much said "monopolies are ok" that clear channel (one of the largest and most insane monopoly) saw this coming and decided to break up before being forced to break up, becuase i'm assuming a democratically elected congress will strike monopolies down pretty quick.

Re:I wonder if (1)

denverradiosucks (653647) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878020)

Before you label Republicans as the only guilty party for the consolidation of radio, let me remind you as to who was in the White House when the Telecommunications act of 1996 was passed. I don't recall seeing President Clinton putting up a fight about this one.

Re:I wonder if (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878690)

The bill passed 91-5 in the Senate. The only people to vote against it were some of the strongest anti-corruption, anti-railroading Senators in the country -- McCain, Feingold, Leahy, Wellstone, and Simon. When it was taken over to the House, it was passed after only an hour and a half with minimal discussion 414-16.

Now, in case you aren't aware, that's a veto-proof majority. I doubt Clinton was willing to tilt at windmills over it.

Re:I wonder if (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878492)

Note: Anti-trust enforcement is entirely the province of the executive branch.

Legislators' jobs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878984)

Note: Anti-trust enforcement is entirely the province of the executive branch.

Note: Anti-trust statute amendment and anti-trust budgeting are entirely the province of the legislative branch.

Does this mean... (0, Troll)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 7 years ago | (#16877786)

... that I can hear all of my favorite Clear Channel banned songs again?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_deemed_ inappropriate_by_Clear_Channel_following_the_Septe mber_11%2C_2001_attacks [wikipedia.org]

(List of all songs banned by CC post 9/11)

Biggest Urban Myth ever. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878826)

I have heard all of those songs on CC owned stations. Yeah I live in an area saturated with them.

Re:Biggest Urban Myth ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16880118)

I'm sure the "ban" expired after a while. In addition, John Hogan, president of Clear Channel, stated that the list was only a suggestion, and "never a policy or a directive." Thanks for playing.

Re:Biggest Urban Myth ever. (0, Troll)

Perseid (660451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16880488)

Right. And if the president of the company you work for tacks a memo on the message board telling you not to do something, what do YOU do? Clear Channel was never about playing what people wanted to listen to, it was all about dictating what people were able to hear through a commercially and politically motivated ideology. And I doubt that will change just because the evil changed hands.

Radio and Print Newspapers in Terminal Decline (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878180)

If the comments in this forum about nothing worthwhile being on the radio dial, with the possible exception of political talk, since the mid 1980s and my own experience with newspapers thus far (I have never been a subscriber) are any thing to go by then these private equity firms are going to loose their collective shirts in this business. When was the last time you saw any of your friends younger than thirty (30) regularly listening to music radio stations or reading a paper newspaper? Clearly there is value in online news, but with Google news bringing even the most obscure sources to the top of the stack where is the equity in an ink and dead wood newspaper brand? Readership and subscriber numbers for newspapers and radio listeners are either stagnated or declining in most of the major markets and have been going in that direction for many years. This article [thestreet.com] by Jim Cramer [wikipedia.org] really hits the nail on the head. These guys are ultimately going to lose and lose big with this investment.

Re:Radio and Print Newspapers in Terminal Decline (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879018)

When was the last time you saw any of your friends younger than thirty (30) regularly listening to music radio stations

K-12 school buses in my area play mainstream music radio stations, allowing the RIAA to advertise to kids.

Does it really shock anyone (2, Funny)

palindromic (451110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16878612)

that Clear Channel is hugely in debt? Their marketing peoples' "formula" for success resulted in some of the most grating, asinine garbagey programming ever. People hate it so much they actually donate their money freely to NPR in the overwhelming fear that the one reliable station on the dial might disappear. And fuck me, the COMMERCIALS these ad-wizards came up with, I honestly couldn't think of something more effective in triggering a Pavlovian response to hit the scan button than the shit they engineer to try and sound "cool" or whatever the fuck marketing group-think buzzword their slimy little brains secreted at CC meetings. Seriously.

Ding Dong the witch is dead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16879178)

The Republicrats baught up all of the media outlets in an effort to produce a monopoly on mainstream thought. What they found is that people will stop listening to you and invest in technology which replaces you if you do that. Thus, one of the 5 media companies is now in a state of complete disarray because it can't turn a profit or stay healthy; the other 4 are in the same boat. The crux of the situation is that the government isn't giving them handouts, and each year their profits are dwindling because the youth of the nation are, year after year, turning to different media sources which they must compete with to get their news. You can't compete with a computer technician with a hobby and talent for political discourse when you're writing propaganda which is easily shown to be false, misleading, or contentless.

front (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16879332)

Front company for the c******* group. Think control of the news, mass brainwashing, propoganda for the goon run fascist government.

Re:front (2, Interesting)

Perseid (660451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16880520)

I wouldn't go that far. The Madison, WI Air America affiliate is a Clear Channel station.

Bain Capital is a friend of the Carlyle Group (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16879472)

One of the investment consortiums is Bain Capital which is a partner with George H W Bush and Saudi investor's Carlyle Group.

Maybe we can listen to drug addicted, Dominican Republic sex tourist, Rush Limbaugh all day every day.

Now they don't _have_ to make money (2, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16879612)


One thing about going private is that there won't be any stockholder grandstanding for liberal political motives. And the owners can be as political as they want because they don't have to run the company for the stockholders' profit.

Re:Now they don't _have_ to make money (1)

myatmpinis1234 (697897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16886246)

One could argue that they now have less leeway than before for political chicanery. When you buy a company with flat revenues for 12x EBITDA, you'd better make a lot of money, and fast, or you will be crushed by the debt. They need to give the audience what they want, whether it's political or not is not really up to them. Not that I'm arguing that, but one could argue...

Charge them with Treason! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16880280)

After Clear Channel's disgusting support of the Bush Administration, their attacks on free speech and the war in Iraq that killed over half a million, the feds should arrest the Clear Channel 'executives' and charge them with High Treason.

Radio Free Hawaii (1)

Jess (geek-chick) (896411) | more than 7 years ago | (#16883516)

In 1991, an independent radio station was started in Hawaii. It was called Radio Free Hawaii, and played music by request. Each week you could fill out a ballot, requesting 10 songs you wanted to hear and 3 songs you didn't want to hear. In addition you could nominate a song you think would be a hit (one that hasn't been played before), and a song or artist that should be "sledgehammered" off the air forever. On Saturday mornings they would count down the top requested songs, and "Sheriff" Norm, the station's manager, would smash the top voted song/artist off the air. Usually it was a song that was pushed and played continuously on other stations.

The station quickly became the top rated and most popular in the state. What other station could a listener call into and actually request a song, and they would play it...no matter what. (Unless it had more negative votes that is.) However it only lasted until 1997 when it was bought out by a corporation. It was lack of advertising, which was needed to bring funds, that eventually brought its demise.

My theory, which admittedly may be a bit conspiricy based, is that because the station didn't bow to record label's pressure to play their artists, the advertisers were pressured not to buy time on Radio Free.

It was a sad day when the station lost its all request format and turned into just another corporate run station.

Will they stay radio? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16884312)

26 Billion seems a lot for radio in today's tech landscape.... sounds like they may have a different use for all that licensed bandwidth.

If I had it all available I'd turn it into a massive wireless 'data' network, stream the radio channels with better-targeted ads worldwide and charge monthly fees to users in addition to the normal ad revenue.

This discussion is cracking me up! (1)

brett880 (970445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16885202)

Its not a radio station or owner of a radio station thats making radio suck today, its the crappy manufactured digitally processed garbage being passed off as music today. Probably one out of 1000 artists today can actually perform without all of the stage and/or studio processing..we see this most in hip/hop and rap IMO. Its like the saying "everybody wants to be a DJ"...nowdays everyone thinks they are an artist. Im sure some Apple fanboy will mod me down for this next part, but software like Garage Band is adding to the multitudes of crappy bands/artists. It used to be that someone had talent and would be signed to a label and perform/produce. Nowdays someone thinks they have talent...they CREATE a label in mom's basement and make a CD with Garage Band (or insert PC music software)...which has ultimately created more labels out there than actual artists...rediculous! Painful to actually say this because I hate the saying, but it unfortunately fits...hate the player dont hate the game...

Re:This discussion is cracking me up! (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16890952)

Clear Channel is the reason for the commodity nature of music today. They pander to the lowest common denominator, which also pays them.
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