Posts Tagged ‘Clear Channel Communications’

Clear Channel CEO Mays Stepping Down

June 25, 2010

It’s been two years since Bain Capital and THL Partners shelled out $24 billion in their takeover of Clear Channel Communications. In the intervening time since, there has been a significant amount of restructuring done to the conglomerate, much of it to cope with the debt incurred by the deal.

Now, according to this Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, more change is in the wind. Mark Mays, Clear Channel CEO since 2004, will be leaving that position as soon as the proper candidate to replace him can be located. He will continue to be deeply involved with Clear Channel as their Chairman of the Board, a post he has held since last year.

Joseph Plambeck, a blogger for The New York Times, reports:

“As I’ve discussed with our board, this is an opportune time for a new C.E.O. to work with the management team in leading our terrific company forward, and I look forward to executing a seamless transition,” Mr. Mays said in a statement.

The company said that it expected to find a replacement later this year.

Radio World notes that Bain and THL sought this management shift in order to bolster Clear Channel’s digital strategy. They also go on to note that this is a historic shift for Clear Channel on at least one level:

The change means that a Mays will no longer sit at the helm of the broadcast giant, which was founded by Mark and Randall’s father, Lowry Mays in 1972 with B.J. “Red” McCombs.

It ill be interesting to see which candidates are considered to fill the position. Considering the stated reasons for the change, I would be willing to bet that digital experience and web savvy are going to be major factors in the choice.

Image: Clear Channel Communications Logo / Fair Use: Reporting

Joe Walsh and Christine Aguilera Get Their Own Stations

August 1, 2009

aguilaraBy the time you read this, Christina Aguilera and Joe Walsh will have had their first full day as DJs. Not as performers, but as radio hosts on their own branded channels. The word is that next month the the band Weezer will follow suit.

A.P.E. Radio (Artist Personal Experience) will be distributed through Clear Channel Communications’ iHeartRadio network and will consist of a wide variety of content ranging from the artist in question playing DJ to personal commentary and news. The thing that I really like is that the artists being given APE stations retain total creative control of their content. Personally, I can’t wait to hear Joe Walsh rhapsodizing about creative hotel room deconstruction and flying bullets at Kent State.

Mesfin Fekadu at the Associated Press managed to pin Aguilera down for a brief interview about the new program:

The Associated Press: How does a radio channel fit you?

Aguilera: In the beginning when I make my CDs, I make inspiration record-CDs and I hand them out to all the producers that I am looking forward to working with. And I hand out these CDs and at the end of the day it’s funny because all the producers, or a lot of the producers, are like, “Wow, you should be a DJ.” It’s a really great mix of songs, and they’re so different and eclectic and that’s my style in general.

As a child of the “mix-tape” generation, I can completely relate.

Image: darraghb / CC BY 2.0

Clear Channel Donates Radio Stations to Minority Media and Telecommunications Council

July 23, 2009

micWhat do AM radio stations KYHN in Fort Smith, AR; WTFX in Winchester, VA; KMFX in Rochester, MN; and WHJA in Laurel, MS, all have in common?

The fact they they are preparing to change ownership, that’s what.

Clear Channel Communications, in a move designed to increase diversity in media ownership, is donating these stations and additional equipment to the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC). Geared towards not only increasing minority ownership but also towards training the next generation of minority and female broadcast owners.

Daivid Honig, president and executive director of the MMTC is quoted in the San Antonio Business Journal speaking about the program:

“Clear Channel Radio’s generosity and support creates an enormous opportunity not only for our own training programs, but for minority and women broadcasters who would not otherwise have the means to operate their own stations,” Honig says. “We look forward to working with Clear Channel through this ongoing program to promote diversity in radio broadcasting.”

Honig must be pretty happy right now, he and the MMTC have spent several years applying pressure to the FCC, trying to get them to award more licenses to minorities and women. Hardly surprising, since the group’s mandate is to promote civil rights and equality in the broadcast space, nice to see them tally up this success.

This move by Clear Channel comes at a tumultuous time for minority radio. As Congress wrangles with the troublesome topic of radio royalties, minority owned stations are experiencing fear that they may not be able to afford to continue operating.  Just Google the phrase “Save Black Radio” for a plethora of examples.

I applaud Clear Channel for taking this step towards preserving the diversity of voices that radio presents to the listening public!

Photo: hiddedevries/ / CC BY 2.0

Talk Host Randi Rhodes Returns to the Air

April 27, 2009

randiThose of you who are familiar with Air America or Nova M radio are probably already familiar with controversial liberal pundit Randi Rhodes. Rhodes is known for delivering no-holds-barred commentary from the political left. Now, in a move that will surprise many, she will be returning to the airwaves on Premiere Radio Networks, the on-air home of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Using sound bites ranging from “bong bubbles,” bells, buzzers, and the “Howard Dean scream,” Rhodes delivers commentary as biting as Limbaugh’s but from an ideologically opposite stance. Also much like Limbaugh, she has been dogged by controversy due to extreme comments. Rhodes called Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro “whores” at a private party that became a viral video. Rhodes’ remarks led to her suspension from Air America in April a year ago. Rhodes resigned rather than apologize for the remarks. Of course, as we are all aware, in political talk radio, extremism sells.

Wall Street Journal media reporter, Sarah McBride, quotes Premiere’s president about the contradiction between Rhodes and Limbaugh:

“It’s all about getting audience we don’t have,” said Charlie Rahilly… who commented that Ms. Rhodes was very successful in drawing listeners in past stints on Clear Channel stations.

It will be very interesting to see how things progress once the show begins airing. So far liberal talk radio has seen far less success than its conservative counterpart. However, that was before the Obama era. Time and ratings will tell in the end. In the meantime, it will be worthwhile keeping an eye on this trend.

The Randi Rhodes Show will broadcast live from Washington, D.C. starting on May 11, and will be heard on affiliates across the nation, including KTLK-AM/Los Angeles, KKGN-AM/San Francisco and KPOJ-AM/Portland. The daily broadcast will be heard in the 3-6pm ET slot.

Will you be listening?

Photo courtesy of Paul Schultz, used under its Creative Commons license

Clear Channel to Provide Internet Radio Service For Verizon

February 27, 2009

verizon

Clear Channel Communications has been brought in to provide Internet radio service to Verizon Hub customers. Verizon Hub is a home phone service enhanced with on-demand audio/video streaming content to customers. It is a base station that allows one to dock a smartphone and synch it, but it also boasts a 7″ touchscreen and brings texting to the home based phone. Some reviewers (like the one linked above) call it the “Landline Slayer.”

Via the San Antonio Business Journal:

Through this partnership, Verizon customers will be able to access music, sports and talk from 14 Clear Channel radio stations, including top-market stations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Chicago and Miami. Clear Channel is making this content available through its iheartradio, Internet radio service.

The convergence of phone, radio, and Internet technology continues. Now that the deal is settled, Clear Channel is looking to expand the offerings made through this new arrangement.

“As the premiere provider of audio content for the Verizon Hub, our strong initial line-up of 14 diverse stations will be expanded quickly over the next 30 to 60 days […],” Clear Channel Radio President and CEO John Hogan says.

I’ll be keeping an eye out to see and report on which stations get added as the expansion of services progresses. The more choices available, the more likely this will be to take off.  With over 1,20 radio stations in the Clear Channel stable, we should see the audio choices available increasing rapidly.

The iheartradio app for the iPhone is available for download here. The iheartradio national radio tuner is online here. Go take a look for yourself and let us know what you think!

Can you hear it now?

Photo courtesy of Eric Hauser, used under its Creative Commons license

Web Traffic Rising: CBS Up 30% in December 2008

January 14, 2009

traffic1

Here you go, the latest installment of information on radio evolution.

As broadcast reaches out into the world of the Internet, things become more and more interesting. Embracing the Internet in the early 21st Century means not only new means of reaching listeners with your audio content but also a whole new array of community building tools for those forward thinking stations embracing social media.

While I often write about the latter, today I’d like to share some positive numbers on the former. Eric Sass over at MediaPost presents some encouraging numbers in his most recent article:

CBS Radio’s network of radio station Web sites saw its total number of unique visitors increase 30% in December 2008, compared to the same month in 2007, according to Web analytics service OneStat.com, reaching an all-time high for CBS Radio. The online measurement company also noted that unique visitors grew 7% between November and December 2008.

While not enough to offset other industry losses (yet), these numbers are a great thing to see come across the board. The biggest jump experienced by a CBS station according to Sass was KRLD-Dallas, which had an increase of 133% between December 2007 and 2008.

This, while still a comparatively small part of the equation, is indicative of the importance of embracing online radio. The numbers do not yet counteract the slump we have seen in recent times, but by the same token, these numbers continue to trend upwards.

Evan Harrison, the president of Clear Channel Radio’s online division, confirmed that the Web ops posted about 20% year-over-year growth thus far in 2008, adding that August was their biggest revenue month in history.

Check out the numbers, listen to the future.

Photo courtesy of Burning Image, used under its Creative Commons license

Broadcast and The Internet: Collaborative Media Delivery

March 25, 2008
hnadshakemoney

Today we are going to take a look at some new, and hopefully profitable, partnerships that are expanding the reach of radio across both internet and mobile platforms. First, let’s see what is happening with Radio Time (see our 1/4/08 post) as they ally with Cox Communications. The press release on Yahoo! Business gives us some details on this newly minted partnership:

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–RadioTime, Inc., developer of the RadioGuide technology for finding and listening to more than 50,000 AM/FM radio stations online, today announced Cox Radio, Inc. (NYSE: CXRNews) has licensed program information for distribution over computers and other devices that connect to the RadioTime guide. The RadioTime-Cox Radio partnership enables listeners using their computers or New Radio devices to find real-time information about whats airing on all Cox Radio stations nationwide.[…]

This translates to a much more reliable and enjoyable listening experience, said Bill Moore, founder and CEO, RadioTime, Inc. Cox Radio is the first major radio broadcaster to integrate its content systems with an aggregated directory to deliver these benefits to the listener using connected devices, and represents a significant step in the radio industrys evolution of the traditional radio tuner.

This union is indeed an evolutionary step forward. Users of Radio Time can now take advantage of innovations made in the Internet world when listening to Cox radio stations: host and show info, song and artist data, etc. The ease of discovery inherent in partnering with an online aggregator is also extremely important and heralds a bold step into the future of the medium.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel Communications has also announced an innovative technology partner: Thumbplay. Their Press Release from BusinessWire gives us a peek at whats in store:

[Thumbplay] today announced a relationship with Clear Channel Radio to roll out customized mobile content stores across more than 650 of its local music stations Web sites, plus several more news and sports stations, throughout 2008. Thumbplays content is contextually featured in areas including the Just Played box and Top 20 On Demand lists on all participating local radio stations home pages. In addition, links to the mobile content store are found in the Last 10 Played playlist on each site. This enables listeners who like songs heard on these stations to purchase them as ringtones for more than 2,000 supported handsets across all major U.S. wireless carriers.

Radio station websites will feature the customized Thumbplay stores containing content apropos to the station’s format. There will be sections for the station DJ to choose and update their own personal selection of favorite ringtones

Many of our listeners first discover their favorite songs on radio, said Larry Linietsky, Vice President of Business & Product Development for Clear Channel Online Music & Radio. We can now connect the dots by delivering a broad selection of mobile content, including exclusive station-created ringtones and graphics, right to our listeners via our stations websites.

For radio stations, the discovery of relevant mobile content, whether ringtones or music videos, is a natural extension of the listener experience, said Are Traasdahl, Thumbplays CEO and founder. Thumbplay gives radio stations and their personalities the ability to sell mobile content and to quickly tap into new revenue while requiring minimal resources for implementation.

The collaborative evolution of broadcast and Internet media proceeds apace. Each day, more ideas come to light on ways in which these two media can operate in a collaborative rather than competitive fashion.

As always, it is exciting to watch as these new approaches are developed and tested, each one rife with possibility. The eagerness with which these “cutting edge” companies are partnering with traditional broadcasts entities speak of an exciting new evolution of radio.

Just one more thing, a side note for those who enjoy keeping up on the intersection of radio and the Internet: According to C|Net News, Yahoo has just started running radio ads for its search engine in San Francisco’s Bay Area. No additional information is available yet on what other markets they may expand into.

Photo courtesy of www.viahar24h.com, used under this Creative Commons license