Clear Channel Gets Bought Out; Will New Owners Mean New Ideas?

from the wait-and-see dept

Radio giant Clear Channel has agreed to a $19 billion leveraged buyout by a group of private-equity firms — a move that will take the company private and could spark significant change in how it does business. Clear Channel has continually fought for the relaxation of ownership rules that would allow it to own even more stations in particular markets, but it’s unclear if its new owners will want to pursue the same type of strategy that’s appeared focused on buying every radio station in sight, and making them all sound the same. When private-equity firms take over a company, the first thing many people think is that they’ll break it into parts and sell it off at a profit. Clear Channel is already saying it wants to sell off its 42 TV stations and nearly half its radio stations (though these are all in smaller markets, and generate less than 10 percent of its total revenues) and there’s been persistent talk that it would split off its outdoor advertising business as well. Further breaking up its radio holdings is possible, but seems rather unlikely — but so does further large-scale expansion, given that the company will soon take on more debt to finance the buyout. We’ve slated Clear Channel in the past for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the ham-fisted way it’s tried to adapt to the changing media market. There’s hope that new ownership could realize how badly the company’s stumbled when it comes to technology and the internet, or even the effect its work to homogenize its stations and the music industry has had, and seek to make significant changes to deliver new revenue growth. However, current executives, including the CEO and chairman from the controlling Mays family, will stay on board — so any real change would appear to remain a distant possibility. However, freed from the burden of having to try to satisfy public investors, or driven by the demands of its new owners, maybe something will change.


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Comments on “Clear Channel Gets Bought Out; Will New Owners Mean New Ideas?”

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19 Comments
progrock says:

It's gotten pretty bad

With clear channel owning darn near all the stations around big cities, it’s harder and harder to hear anything but top 40 stuff. And not that top 40 is all bad, but change is good. I’d like an alternative station, a classic rock station, maybe even something even more out there, like a metal station. I’m sick of the latest rapper chanting about how much money and how many women he has.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mike.

You must be using Sirius, or use your unit with an FM modulator (or both.) The quality of satellite radio (granted, I’m an XM subscriber) FAR surpasses FM broadcast radio. With a direct connection via add on receiver to the head unit, or an external receiver, quality is at close or equal to CD quality in my estimation.

My 2 cents…

Tyshaun says:

Why would ClearChannel change?

Why would ClearChannel change anything? Their strategy, while not very beneficial to the competition, has been very lucrative and appears quite successful in dominating areas it has assets in (such as radio and outdoor ads).

Remember the point of a corporation is to turn a profit for its shareholders, not to make people happy.

Dan (user link) says:

Stu: What?

Have you ever driven a Lexus? The whole point of a nice car with a nice sound system is that it doesn’t have road noise and does sound good. XM sounds great in my car and FM stations are staticy. It’s especially good for long drives when you don’t feel like finding CDs or changing the FM station every 4 minutes.

Anyway, I love XM. Sounds great, good content, and less staticy channel changing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Changes in Clear Channel

I was afraid of this change.
I noticed a small change in late Nov. after the buy out.
Clear Channel programming in it’s talk radio IE: Coasttocoastam, sounds more like Fox Media.
There has been a change in the content of talk radio leaning more toward propaganda for the Government.
As for some of the talk show host,like Art Bell, they sound like the talking heads of average American media.
Absolute Propaganda spewing crapheads.

gordon says:

good day sir

good day sir.

my name is Gordon.
from ghana western africa i am musician pl sir i need your help
i come from a very pure family and i loss my family in the car
accident so i have nobody to help me amme full talented rapper
i sing hiphop pl sir don.t doit for the seck human pl doit for the
seck of god i promiss i will make you prade if you do this for
me my tallent is wested in the street i have no home pl help me out.

god pless you and your family.

best regard
gordon hartd.

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