Crystal Clear Channel Surfing
May 21, 2003 11:34 AM   Subscribe

All we need is Radio Ga Ga... Ever heard of Clear Channel? They are the largest owners of radio stations and billboards in the United States. They are based in Texas. Bush is from Texas. Bush is running for President in 2004. Bush and CC are friends. Before the conspiracy bangwagon gets too full, think of all the money and energy spent of political advertising near the end of their campaigns, it's sad to think that most people vote (or don't vote) for what a candidate looks like on a 30 foot billboard rather than his/her political views. Will Bush win the 2004 election? Be very afraid
posted by lsd4all (55 comments total)
 
UH OH YOU GUYS! THIS IS GONNA BE A CONTROVERSIAL ONE! BRING ON THE 7 PARAGRAPH RANTS!!!!
posted by Satapher at 11:38 AM on May 21, 2003


Ever heard of Clear Channel?

Yeah, I have. Quite a bit.
posted by jpburns at 11:42 AM on May 21, 2003


I wonder who lsd4all is going to vote for. Can't you keep your views out of the FPP? Start a thread, sure. But let the content do the talking... jesus.
posted by Witty at 11:46 AM on May 21, 2003


I now immediately think of the James Hetfield "Napster Bad" cartoons, whenever I see an anti-Bush post. I had a graphic ready, but what's the point?
posted by mkelley at 11:47 AM on May 21, 2003


damn jpburns beat me to it! hey! i wonder if slashdot ever heard of microsoft?
posted by quonsar at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2003


In a related note... when does the "bangwagon" come to my street?
Just wondering...
posted by jpburns at 11:51 AM on May 21, 2003


You did notice that the last link in the fpp was written as a joke, right?
posted by kickingtheground at 11:53 AM on May 21, 2003


Just as a note: Clear Channel is subject to the same Equal Time rules as any other "liberal media" broadcaster.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:59 AM on May 21, 2003


Can't you keep your views out of the FPP?

the uniqueness of this FPP is one thing, but the language is hardly inflamatory or slanted, IMO.

All we need is Radio Ga Ga... Ever heard of Clear Channel? They are the largest owners of radio stations and billboards in the United States. They are based in Texas. Bush is from Texas. Bush is running for President in 2004. Bush and CC are friends. Before the conspiracy bangwagon gets too full, think of all the money and energy spent of political advertising near the end of their campaigns, it's sad to think that most people vote (or don't vote) for what a candidate looks like on a 30 foot billboard rather than his/her political views. Will Bush win the 2004 election? Be very afraid

Aside form "be very afraid", it seems pretty decently discussion-oreiented. I wonder who witty will vote for.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:08 PM on May 21, 2003


Hey Pollo
Does that mean they have to give equal time to those who want to hear the Dixie Chicks? Equal time every time one of their DJs makes a statement about what it means to be a real American?
posted by ahimsakid at 12:13 PM on May 21, 2003


Does that mean they have to give equal time to those who want to hear the Dixie Chicks?

*shudder*
posted by goethean at 12:17 PM on May 21, 2003


Clear Channel ought to be featured in business textbooks. They took an inefficient, fragmented industry, bought up competitors, and created (an oft maligned) synergy. They recognized immense opportunity with the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which cleared the way for CC to buy even more stations and run them much more efficiently than their previous owners. CCU was one of the best performing stocks of the 1990s.

And, while people complain and complain about voice tracking, I don't remember radio ever not sucking.
posted by trharlan at 12:18 PM on May 21, 2003


OK, so Bush has CC in his corner...on the other hand, Clinton had legions of H'wood celebs in his corner in the 90s.

What's the difference?
posted by davidmsc at 12:23 PM on May 21, 2003


Obviously you never listened to Eddie Beacon, Your Swingin' Deacon, on WKGN back in the heyday of Motown & the late 60's - that didn't suck.
posted by Pressed Rat at 12:23 PM on May 21, 2003


/me bangs his wagon
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:32 PM on May 21, 2003


Oh, come on. Just because Clear Channel doesn't hate freedom doesn't mean they hate freedom.
posted by drstrangelove at 12:33 PM on May 21, 2003


What's the difference?

Clinton had a few outspoken(and to be fair, annoying) individual celebrities in his corner. Bush has a gigantic media corporation-the type with the power to make or break a celebrities career, and slant coverage-on his side, I'd say that's a pretty big difference. Not to say Clinton was averse to big money, either, but there's your answer.
posted by jonmc at 12:33 PM on May 21, 2003


Or "Just Jazz" with Ed Beach thru the night in NY city on WRVR.
posted by ahimsakid at 12:33 PM on May 21, 2003


I don't remember radio ever not sucking.

I guess that would be a true statement for anyone under 35
posted by mss at 12:34 PM on May 21, 2003


Bush and CC are friends.
Nice work Isd4all, liked your get out and vote. You are aware Tom Hicks owns the Texas Rangers, the team Bush was a part owner.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:40 PM on May 21, 2003


I wonder who Witty will vote for.

The right person for the job, indeed.
posted by Witty at 12:42 PM on May 21, 2003


The right person for the job, indeed.

And if there is no right person on the ballot (IYHO)?
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:55 PM on May 21, 2003


Um, I don't recall anyone here complaining when the West Wing has another liberal diatribe on why "Conservatism is Stupid and Evil". Media sources are all biased one way or another. Instead of worrying about clear channel, the Democrats would be better off spending their time trying to find a candidate that Americans would actually vote for.
posted by unreason at 12:58 PM on May 21, 2003


trharlan :
in perfectly amoral terms, who could disagree? Sure, Clear Channel has been a very successful business. The criticisms derive from the fact that broadcasting is a sort of "special" industry due to the fact that the airwaves are the property of the public. A radio station is kind of like a bus driver in that respect. With virulently politicized near-monopolies, this aspect of serving the public gets lost along the way somewhere.

So yeah, CC makes lots of money. So did thalydimide.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:08 PM on May 21, 2003


Hey Pollo
Does that mean they have to give equal time to those who want to hear the Dixie Chicks? Equal time every time one of their DJs makes a statement about what it means to be a real American?


Um, last I checked, the Dixie Chicks were not running for President. They will have to give equal time to each candidate, whether they like it or not. That is the law. Fox news too. Then again this will also apply to Pacifica, should they decide to air candidate's views. It also means that "friends of" organizations on both (all) sides of the aisle will also be charged the same price for comparable air time. These laws were enacted with just such a conspiracy in mind. Clear Channel will have to play fair or be subject to suit, no matter who they root for.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:14 PM on May 21, 2003


...and with the pending FCC decision to further deregulate media ownership, it begs the question of how many other radio stations in your hometown Clear Channel will buy - and how that is to affect diversity of opinion in your particular market.

Y'know, just fast-forward to the day when Clear Channel owns all the radio stations and Rupert Murdoch all the TV networks, because aren't we headed in that direction anyway?
posted by kgasmart at 1:19 PM on May 21, 2003


When I was working in political consulting, Roger Stone met with our firm with this online-campaigning idea. I thought it was great, but it was a hard sell to candidates, who were just getting used to the idea of a website for their candidacy. I'll be interested to see what happens with it and hoping they don't go for pop-ups.
posted by swerve at 1:24 PM on May 21, 2003


CC makes lots of money. So did thalydimide.

*quonsar bows in awe toward ignatious*
posted by quonsar at 1:29 PM on May 21, 2003


Y'know, just fast-forward to the day when Clear Channel owns all the radio stations and Rupert Murdoch all the TV networks, because aren't we headed in that direction anyway?

Murdoch is actually fairly small potatoes in the US market, Ted Turner's buddies are more frightening in that regard, but Clear Channel already sends programming to 75% of America's stations and 180 Million listeners (@two thirds of all Americans).
posted by Pollomacho at 1:29 PM on May 21, 2003


ignatius, too.
posted by quonsar at 1:30 PM on May 21, 2003


Equal time? How about equally signed? Even if you were to transform the fabric of Clear Channel, this doesn't mean that corporate radio will be any less obnoxious than it's been for the past decade, playing the agreed upon playlists and rotating that short list of junk with safe "wakeup crew" DJs sanctioned to appeal to the simpering tastes of a finicky general public. Unseen are the closed meetings with executives, in which profit-minded, blue-suited men demand nothing less than stupidity, enthusiasm over shit bands, and nothing that rocks the boat from underpaid DJs.

Clear Channel certainly promulgates the worst of the worst, but if you want to change the music, then firebomb the recording industry. They're the ones that spawn, perpetuate and distribute music designed for the lowest common denominator. Clear Channel, for all of its evil, is only one part of the soulless corporate equation. They've zeroed in on the avaricious impulses of the recording giants and created a national network that's readily adaptable. While all this is just as shameful, lsd4all, why don't you grow up and understand the inexorable state of media distribution? It's not going to change for a while. Not as long as the RIAA puts up a mean fight against alternative forms of distribution.
posted by ed at 1:33 PM on May 21, 2003


Well, Ignatius, I get what you're saying. But I don't think buying radio stations and maiming babies are analogous. Clear Channel simply acted in its best interest, within the confines of the law. I shudder to think of the vitriol I'd be reading here if W, not Clinton, signed off on the legislation that let all of this happen.
posted by trharlan at 1:39 PM on May 21, 2003


FWIW, and it may not be a whole lot, Clear Channel staff do seem to favor the GOP in their giving (just enter "Clear Channel" in the Occupation/Employer box, there's no way to link directly to the results. They also seem to give an extraordinary amount of money to "Clear Channel Communications" a PAC that favors Repubs on a 62% to 38% rate.

Other PACs favored by Clear Channel emps include the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (58%-42% in favor of the GOP) and the National Assoc. of Broadcasters ( 64% - 36% in favor of GOP).
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2003


And if there is no right person on the ballot (IYHO)?

Someone will get my vote.
posted by Witty at 1:54 PM on May 21, 2003


They also seem to give an extraordinary amount of money to "Clear Channel Communications" a PAC that favors Repubs on a 62% to 38% rate.

Other PACs favored by Clear Channel emps include the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (58%-42% in favor of the GOP) and the National Assoc. of Broadcasters ( 64% - 36% in favor of GOP).


So their employees give more to the GOP than the DNC, woo. Check the DNC against Microsoft giving, or any other corporate monolith that gets bad mouthed, I'm sure you're bound to find at least one. Point is no matter who they give their cash to, and that's their own opinion and prerogative as it should be for all Americans, they still have to give equal time to all candidates under the law.

The recording industry itself is a whole other can of shit packed worms, let's not go down that diversion, ed, or I'll be here all day!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:02 PM on May 21, 2003


I don't remember radio ever not sucking.

I guess that would be a true statement for anyone under 35


Good business != good radio

The breakdown IMHO:

Much college radio does not suck.
Much public radio does not suck.
Much micro/pirate radio does not suck.

Most commercial radio does suck.
All Clearchannel radio does suck.

Ubi > 35
posted by ubi at 2:03 PM on May 21, 2003


PS in Dallas the CC alternative- morning show didn't support Bush, they're even had a visit by the Secret Service.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:09 PM on May 21, 2003


're even
posted by thomcatspike at 2:11 PM on May 21, 2003


They are based in Texas. Bush is from Texas.

Just for the record, Bush is from Connecticut. There are plenty of people here in Texas who don't want people getting the wrong idea...
posted by majcher at 4:03 PM on May 21, 2003


*quonsar bows in awe toward ignatious*

kneeling is easier on the back, especially in such time-consuming endeavors :)

But I don't think buying radio stations and maiming babies are analogous.

I suppose not. But maiming one corner or another of the free press, which itself is more crucial to democracy than voting, is about on par with maiming babies. Maybe that is how one could sell protecting the constitution to conservative middle-America: "The constitution is like a precious fetus..."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:13 PM on May 21, 2003


Just for the record, Bush is from Connecticut. There are plenty of people here in Texas who don't want people getting the wrong idea...

Because one person out of millions says a lot about a state, huh?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2003


So their employees give more to the GOP than the DNC, woo. Check the DNC against Microsoft giving, or any other corporate monolith that gets bad mouthed, I'm sure you're bound to find at least one. Point is no matter who they give their cash to, and that's their own opinion and prerogative as it should be for all Americans, they still have to give equal time to all candidates under the law.

You can't really be that naive. Don't you remember the stories about Enron. The Corporate higher-ups would "suggest" a political contribution amount and you were expected to give it. My mother works for a major insurance company and every year they are expected to donate a certain amount to a candidate that the company thinks will give them favorable legislation.

It's their opinion....ha ha ha......
posted by bas67 at 4:22 PM on May 21, 2003


What's this? thomcatspike correcting typo's?? Welcome to the word-processor!
posted by dash_slot- at 4:55 PM on May 21, 2003


Other than kooks, exactly WHO is LITERALLY afraid of GW Bush being elected President in 2004?

Control the hyperbole, leftists.

Hysteria dilutes the legitimate messages leftists DO have (oh yes, I believe the left has many legitimate and excellent principles; sadly, these are no longer part of mainstream liberalism, which explains why so many of us have abandoned the democrat party).
posted by jtm at 5:08 PM on May 21, 2003


Will the dems get their heads out of their asses and actually put forth a candidate worth voting for and not just the better of two evils?
posted by omidius at 5:43 PM on May 21, 2003


Clear Channel is subject to the same Equal Time rules...

Actually the Equal Time rules tend to support incumbents anyhow. Anyone rememebr the Fairness Doctrine? It hasn't been part of American broadcasting since 1987 when it was repealed. The FCC argued that fairness wasn't necessary because the "multiplicity of voices" in the marketplace already offered "viewpoint diversity." We used to see all sorts of weirdly dressed people giving editorials between shows when I was little. Now, there may have been some viewpont diversity in 1987, but since then we've seen a definite decrease in this multiplicity, esp. post 1996. I just got finished writing a big article on Clear Channel [saying in a well-researched way not so much "they suck" but that they are a very serious force to be reckoned with that many people don't even know about - email me if you'd like a pre-press copy] Clear Channel reaches more people in the US than the Internet in any given week.

There are worse things about CC than GOP support -- mostly conflicts of interest in terms of them running the venues AND playing the bands on the radio AND owning the billboards to advertise those shows. People are claiming it's tough to break into the pop music biz. While I'm a bit indifferent to the pop music biz, many people act like it's a level playing field when it so clearly isn't. Mostly I just want to know what happened to the $19mil that the Clear Channel Relief Fund raised after 9/11.... I haven't been able to track that down anywhere and CC just isn't returning my calls.
posted by jessamyn at 6:31 PM on May 21, 2003


not to sound crazy or anything, but there was this time that clear channel supported pro-war rallies and that sort of seems, um, ominous.
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 7:32 PM on May 21, 2003


Mostly I just want to know what happened to the $19mil that the Clear Channel Relief Fund raised after 9/11.... I haven't been able to track that down anywhere and CC just isn't returning my calls.

That's fucking interesting. Please follow up if you find anything, jessamyn.
posted by Ufez Jones at 8:49 PM on May 21, 2003


Bush is losing gun owners as he has agreed to sign the AWB all over again, instead of allowing it to sunset as it should in September of 2004.

Without the gun lobby behind him, he'll have a much harder time winning this time around.
posted by SuzySmith at 1:42 AM on May 22, 2003


SuzySmith: I don't think the democratic nominee is going to support the legalization of assault weapons either. Let's be honest, this next presidential election is going to be Bush versus whoever the democrats think is most electable.

Third parties who might support dropping the AWB aren't going to be a factor, because in a situation like we're facing, you vote for the most acceptable and electable candidate, not your preferred candidate.
posted by mosch at 5:10 AM on May 22, 2003


jtm: *I* am literally afraid of Bush winning in 2004.

I am literally afraid of what another four years of the status quo will do to the land I love, to our notions of the just and the reasonable, and to the Constitution I have sworn to defend with my life.

How's that?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:56 AM on May 22, 2003


jtm: *I* am literally afraid of Bush winning in 2004.

Ditto, to use a phrase easilly parsed by the American right. This is about more than politics for many people, it is about history. I was less than interested in the personal failings of a certain president who still managed to make a few policy decisions that pleased me *cough* blowjob schmowjob! bring on the family leave act, you fat, cruise missile hurlin' king of the hillbillies *cough*, so I can get how some of Bush's faults can be easilly overlooked by those with whom he shares political space. But to "hate" someone because they are of a different politicial stripe is different thing entirely from being concerned that one's nation, and the world, are at a serious crossroads. Every day, it seems, this constitutional democracy loses a little from column a, a little from column b. Pointing out (potentially subtle) cultural and structural shifts apparently seems alarmist to some people, but pardon us for trying to recognize serious crises before their nadir.

That being said, I do not understand how any one individual could actually agree with the corpus of his policy decisions. When it comes to those who support Bush's policies now, and also supported his policies -- as stumped -- during the election and the first year of his presidency, I find them as confusing as Duhbya finds a geography quiz. Did you guys all change your minds on half the fucking issues exactly at the same time that he did? Were you also all privy to "special information" about the war in Iraq that proved the case for war, but was then immediately forgotten/misplaced/whatever when the war was over? And I still don't get how conservatives can be in favor of restricting individual rights, but he did gas his own people, so, you know.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:24 AM on May 22, 2003


Welcome to the word-processor!dash_slot, your two funnie, plees kuit making mee laff (sic), Cheers\!!!/
posted by thomcatspike at 11:12 AM on May 22, 2003


from email from a non-Mefi member...

"...It turns out the Clear Channel Charitable Foundation appears in both the Guidestar.org and the California database. For example, Form 990 for years 2000 and 2001 are in the California database. They can be viewed at the following URL:

http://justice.hdcdojnet.state.ca.us/charitysr trust_list.asp?CT_INT=114870
&intPageT=1
...

I took a quick look at the forms for 1999, 2000 and 2001. It appears the foundation was formed in 1999 with a large contribution from Clear Channel of Clear Channel stock valued at about $9 million. For the first 2 1/2 years of its existence the foundation used the earnings from this endowment almost exclusively for grants to various charitable and religious organizations in Texas (presumably those of interest to Mays). However, after 9/11/01 Clear Channel used this organization to act as the official operator of the Clear Channel Relief Fund, presumably because of their pre-existing tight relationship with this foundation. It appears that the foundation raised almost $12 million in the later portion of calendar year
2001 for the victims of 9/11. They either distributed or allocated about $11 million of those funds in 2001. Most of the funds went to high-profile organizations associated with the relief effort, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or United Way.

There are a few smaller grants using the 9/11 funds whose ultimate purpose is harder to infer, since the funds went to organizations that don't immediately come to mind when one thinks of 9/11. For example, $250,000 was granted to Metro Ministries, a religious organization that operates Sunday School programs for inner-city children. They are located in Brooklyn, so it isn't unreasonable to believe that they operated some kind of program for the victims of 9/11. They'd probably be willing to tell you what they did with the money they received from the Clear Channel Relief Fund.

Given your $19 million figure for the total amount collected by the Clear Channel Relief Fund, they presumably collected an additional $7 million or so in 2002. However, if you want to find out how they spent those funds you will likely have to wait for the 2002 Form 990 to appear in one of the public databases or write to the foundation asking for a copy. You might try calling (210) 822-2828 and asking for Deborah Williams. According to the forms, the Foundations' accounting records are in her care.
"

begging the small question of why Clear Channel didn't just suggest people donate to those organizations, but I guess they needed the tax write-off.
posted by jessamyn at 11:55 AM on May 22, 2003


What a well thought-out post Ignatius J. Reilly. You've touched on something I've never realized before. People on one side of the fence have a hard time understanding where the other side of the fence is coming from. Until now, I couldn't figure out why I hardly ever agree with you.
posted by Witty at 10:39 AM on May 23, 2003


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