Too Much Free Time

by Carlo Longino

Clear Channel: Our Content Sucks, So We Want More Outlets For It

from the go-figure dept

Radio giant Clear Channel's been struggling with how to deal with the changing competitive environment, particularly satellite radio. Its biggest complaint has been that satellite radio providers shouldn't be allowed to provide local content, even though many Clear Channel stations do the same thing by broadcasting national content repackaged for local markets. Now, the company's CEO says it can't compete because satellite radio can offer 150 channels in every market, while Clear Channel can own only 8. While the restrictions on local-market radio ownership are becoming increasingly irrelevant given the rise of borderless media like satellite and internet radio, Clear Channel's missing the point -- owning more stations in each market won't help their business as long as the content sucks. That's the root of the problem, and with its meager attempts to reform proving ineffective, buying more stations appears to be its only idea on how to grow its business. But why keep buying radio stations that more and more people don't want to listen to?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    bob, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 11:38am

    clearchannel sucky content

    Actually, the company's CEO does have a valid point, much as it pains me to EVER agree with CC on anything....

    He really can't compete with only 8 channels per market. It's really hard to be everything to all people when going against 150 channels.

    What is needed is an entirely new radio system, starting in larger markets.

    Give some new company ALL the rights to broadcast, on every channel in FM. REQUIRE them to take feeds of all existing channels for a particular channel. Allow them to keep some small portion of money for selling those existing channels in markets outside their own.

    Massive cross-linked syndication.

    Oh yeah, LOADS of issues to work out, and I'm not sure if this would even work.

    But I'm fairly sure after only 10 minutes of thinking about it, that this is the only way for a terrestrial radio Company to compete.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Phlogistic, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 11:49am

    Re: clearchannel sucky content

    I don't think the CEO has a valid point. Clearchannel didn't make the risky venture of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to launch satellites into space for satellite radio. Sirius & XM took that risk, and only Sirius & XM should benefit from any rewards they took for that risk. Imagine how ludicrious it must of been to explain how you're going to launch several multi-million dollar satellites in *HOPE* that you gain millions of subscribers to make money, a decade later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Alfonso Surroca, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 12:04pm

    Re: clearchannel sucky content

    What ClearChannel should have done was invest in satellite radio years ago, when even the layman consumer knew that it was going to be huge. ClearChannel missed the boat and now they're feeling the ill effects of their mistake. Their rise to industry dominance basically destroyed commercial radio, and XM and Sirius came along and saved it.

    Actually, It was their awful programming that lead me to buy an in-car hard drive MP3 player years ago.

    I just hope they sink low enough for one of the satellite radio companies to buy them out and make use of the commercial radio wasteland they created.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    ThoughtCancer, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 1:15pm

    100% Correct

    This is dead on. Clear Channel can't compete with diversity. You see, contrary to what the marketing droids at CC tell their overlords, the masses are getting a little tired of homogeny. You can drive across the country and hear the same playlist on the same type of station across every state in the union due to CC's complete domination. All music playlists are centrally controlled, there is no real variety in music offered, advertising, promotions, and overall DJ banter eats up more time per hour than actual music. Rock stations that claim to play "new rock" still stuff their lists with 90's rock, "underground" hip-hop stations play major label artists who get on through dubious payola schemes, country stations mirror what's on CMT, and the "only-the-hits" station plays the same hits into the ground, all day, in every city.
    Satellite radio provides a very diverse selection of music. Want alternative country? Check. Local rock bands from Fresno? Check. Poetry slams? Check. Classical, show tunes, or old school vocalists? Check, check, and check. Clear Channel can't compete, not becuase they don't own enough stations, but because even if they did, they would still find a way to homogenize the heck out of it. Clear Channel doesn't do diversity. They can't. It's not in their business model.
    So let them complain all they want. They are suffering because they didn't have the foresight to give the people what they wanted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    rabidearz, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 1:54pm

    Re: clearchannel sucky content

    LOL If CC decided to invest in Satellite radio, they would have made it everybit as horrid as they've made every station they have on FM... Perhaps they may have used slightly less commercials inbetween rants by their godawfully insuffrable Daliliah and John Tesh (who are probably syndicated seperately from CC, still...) CC is a greedy company, they took the airwaves, cut staffing and increased commercials and cutdown on music diversity... Where's all that money going?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jerry Katz, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 1:56pm

    Clear Channel Ownership of XM

    Clear Channel actually has a piece of XM folks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    malhombre, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 2:50pm

    Doesn't matter how they distribute it...

    ...before long it will be illegal to listen to music without paying someone in advance anyway...hey, maybe thats a good use for RFID - you pay an annual fee to RIAA for a license to hear songs, they encode it in the chip in yer neck to help the gov't sponsored collection agencies (like the Supreme Court).
    If they think you heard a song, all they have to do is scan ya...didn't pay, ya go to jail. Repeat offenders get thier ears cut off. Sends a message.
    More efficient gov't. I like that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    alex, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 3:00pm

    No Subject Given

    Radio? What's that? With sooo many other options out there in the world today i.e. web, netflix, video games (PSP,Xbox, Playstion2), tivo, mp3, etc. why in the world would I need to listen to homogenized radio stations? I've totally stopped listening to radio even though there's a radio on my mp3 player and I sure hell ain't going to PAY for radio. I think I ain't the only one in this movement ignoring that medium.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    fuzzmanmatt, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 3:30pm


    I've got Sirius in my car, my iPod in my pocket, and a CD burner in my laptop, so I have no need to listen to ClearChannel anymore, for anything, ever. I have all the pop I want, all the rock, all the old school hop-hip, anything. It's all there. Heck, even polka!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    drinkmorejava, Oct 4th, 2005 @ 5:48pm

    Re: clearchannel sucky content

    Actually, there is a new radio system out. It's called HD radio, basically multiple digital signals broadcast in sideband frequencies in tandem with the standard analog. I know NPR was coming out with it soon...but I hate NPR.
    a little info

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    eeyore, Oct 5th, 2005 @ 5:32am

    No Subject Given

    Has anybody else heard those CC propaganda ads where the guy calls the radio station to ask them how much he has to pay for radio and they tell him it's free? Man, what desperate BS. Hey CC: here comes the clue train: if you put more diverse content on your million outlets instead of playing the same teenybopper/hip-hop crap that every other station in America (that you own) is churning out, maybe people would listen to your stations.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Jens, Oct 5th, 2005 @ 10:27am

    No Subject Given

    Screw CC. They have destroyed terrestrial radio programming quality and diversity. I hope they crash and burn. I can only bear to listen to one FM radio station for extended periods of time, and that is NPR.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Truth speaker, Jan 12th, 2007 @ 3:14pm

    Let Clear Channel go the way of the Dinosaur

    Hi Everyone!

    Just a little inside FYI for all of you. I left CC a little while back and I can truly say goodbye to corruption, waste and megalomania. The entire corporation is mismanaged, being run by individuals more interested in 'control' than content or worse yet... working technology. I worked with numerous departments and markets across the entire corporation and the story was the same. WE WANT MONEY! We don't care how we get it and we'll lie to, or cheat our own to make this happen.

    Based on the other posting about CC not being able to complete in Sat/ HD? It's no wonder! CC builds all of its operations systems internally through wholly owned, poorly run subsidiaries that are as effective as a Chinese fire-drill. The result: bug ridden software and other systems not fit for use in a third world country, let alone 900 stations nationwide(CC just sold 300 stations to Cumulus - those stations are very lucky!). CC corporate then lies to their own, touting the 'benefits' while denying the truth and the markets are forced to use this crap, or else.

    With such stellar management combined with an inbred-attitude of conceit and superiority (that is perpetuated from Corporate down to the smallest market), they have become their own worst enemy. Hopefully CC will implode under the weight of its own arrogance, corruption and greed. Radio would be best served by a quick and violent death.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    junque, Jan 15th, 2007 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: clearchannel sucky content

    Actually, CC DOES own 25 percent of Sirius (groan.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    DAW, Nov 23rd, 2008 @ 4:42am

    ClearChannel ruined radio

    I believe that Clear Channel totally ruined it for radio. Everything has gone generic. The music is the same 40 to 50 songs all the time--I remember the 1970s and 1980s, when the music used to have some variety from one station to another. It was worth looking at stations from out of town, because they had a different mix. Plus, DJs had discretion about what point to stop the songs. Now, it is the same, station after station, DJ after DJ--the same songs ended at the same points (usually short of the real ends of the songs). And that's if the songs have a fade--these days, most of them do not.
    Even the contests are generic. I remember a variety of commercials (not just fewer of them; more interesting ones) from the 1970s and 1980s, some of which were actually worth listening to. And the contests--I remember one where they called different amounts of gas, and you won what came next (unless you wait too long; the pump would then run dry and you got nothing). Or, you won all the records you could name in 10 seconds. Or, they call you and you name the amount to the penny in the jackpot, or listed them as your favorite radio station and then the last two songs they played for a bonus. These days, it is the same "Caller 100 nationwide" crap. Nothing worth listening to.
    My "radio" now is Rhapsody. And I pick the songs from their library, my CD collection, or whatever I can import from other sources. If I want a new song on my playlist, I download it as a tethered download and it will show up. I can also build playlists from different periods, accurate to the originals, and not have to wait for the indies or the CEOs of "Clear"Channel to OK it. I wonder if the dopes at "Clear(??)"Channel can compete with that--or allow local talents to get play on local radio with a chance of going national upon request from listeners (not from payola).
    Short of that, ClearChannel can go the way of Ford and GM--belly up. And I will not support any bailouts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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