Major changes at Clear Channel

Don’t underestimate Bob Pittman.

For those who have worked in big corporations or watch them, it should not come as a shock that Bob Pittman had a major reorganization prepared a week after he got a 5 year contract extension and forced John Hogan into retirement.

Darren Davis is now in charge of Clear Channel Network Group – which will have Premiere syndication, Total traffic & Weather (the people 1000 miles away who have never been to cities they report on), 24/7 News and iHeartRadio.

This is creating a very high level split between the programming services and the radio stations.

As I gaze into the crystal ball of the future, I think I see the Private Equity exit strategy. This new entity is the sexy part of Clear Channel that would be perfect to spin off as an IPO to raise cash by pretending to sell a piece of it to the public, now that the big concerts created brand recognition. Bob Pittman knows about the power of having a brand.

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16 Responses to Major changes at Clear Channel

  1. Parrott says:

    speaking of ‘Brands’ ol Cumulus killed the local country station morning show. It had local people and wasn’t that bad, except when the complementary commercial would start playing at random times, LOL
    Anyhoo, ‘Cumulost’ is replacing it with a satellite show called ‘NASH’ country, across 50 affiliates the newspaper said. I didn’t recognize the two guys named for the show, but the complementary country chick is Terry Clark, she had a couple hits in the early 2000’s and I think is from Canada. So here they go with more boring
    ‘costco-smoothie’ discussion of non-issue offend no-one dribble intermixed with one song per-15 minutes. I will pass on ‘NASH’ brand country

  2. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Brands work… why else would people buy Clorox bleach over the store brand?

    • Art Stone says:

      Or AOL Century 21 Real Estate, or MTV

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Palladia is quite good (an MTV brand). It carries this excellent BBC program:

        • briand75 says:

          CC – Nice! I am out of touch with pop music it seems. This is good! Thank you for the link 🙂

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            It is an awesome show from the BBC. I used to watch it when I traveled to the UK on business. Paladia carries it in the US and I DVR it. It is called “Later with Jools Holland”.

            Jools Holland was a punk rocker in the late 70s but has evolved into the “Ed Sullivan” of the UK with this excellent show. He has a round stage and many performers that he interviews before and/or after each song. I particularly enjoy watching the performers enjoying other musicians perform material very different than their own.

            If you are an old timer, you may like this clip from the show – the new song (video from 2009) is outstanding:


          • Art Stone says:

            I don’t know if he held the line, but one thing I admired about Paul Schaffer was he demanded that musicians perform live and not lip sync. If they had their own band, they would play together.

            Joey Reynolds on WOR had the same rule if you were a musician and came to the studio to plug something, if you handed him a CD to play, he would throw it in the trash and tell them to leave. And where is Joey now?

        • Art Stone says:

          Wow, people playing live violins reading a written musical score, and not lip syncing to midi tracks

          Since I’m out of the loop, what is that in his ear? My assumption is it is feeding the microphone audio (or maybe the complete audio) so he can hear his voice and modulate it.

          Either that or he’s listening to a previously recorded set of tracks and lip syncing 😉

      • Art Stone says:

        Pittman founded MTV back when they played music videos. This thing about iHeartradio having these huge concerts that get A list musicians is all about leveraging the brand.

        Clear Channel (pre Pittman) built the LiveNation concert franchise and used that to piss off musicians. So you want us to play your songs on the radio? Come to a concert at our LiveNation on our terms and we’ll think about it. The backlash was public and loud enough that Clear Channel divested LiveNation

        Currently Clear Channel is trying to “break” the music licensing outfits (BMI, ASCAP, SEASAC, SoundExchange) – signing with new outfits offering them better terms on exchange for more air time and sharing in future streaming revenue. I don’t listen to music, but I would expect the playlists are shrinking and being filled with bland mediocre music and people doing covers of other people’s songs. Performers only “own” their own performance – they don’t own the song – unless they composed it or wrote the lyrics.

        Case in point – I’m pretty sure Rush’s opening theme – if you listen carefully, it is now an instrumental cover of My City Was Gone by Chrissie Hynde, not the original. It also cuts off before any lyrics so there is no fee for using the lyrics.

        Coast to Coast is eventually going to get its affiliates in trouble. Many News/Talk stations carry only what is called an incidental music license – it covers short periods of music like bumper music coming out of breaks. C2C under Art Bell and still with Norry comes out of breaks playing entire songs. When a syndicator does that, it obligates affiliates to carry a full music license. I remember a station getting burned by carrying Dave Ramsey and not having even an incidental license and Ramsey played music. These guys have good lawyers and 80 years of legal precedents. Ignoring them is a recipe for disaster.

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          “And now the rest of the story” as was frequently heard on radio once upon a time…

          C2C is carried by Canadian stations. Differnet rules for the music there. C2C may need to bump in more Guess Who, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Bachman Turner Overdrive, and Jane Sibbery to stay out of trouble. 🙂

          • Art Stone says:

            This is exactly why Clear Channel didn’t allow Canadians to listen to their streams. The CRTC was trying to figure a way to force Canadian domestic content rules on streams coming over the border, or it that wasn’t possible imposing taxes on American radio stations with Canadian listeners to pay for Canadian musicians to sit around and make go ernment approved music.

    • Nidster says:

      I’m sure if one looked around they would find a real branding going on. I have driven to the Centennial Valley via Gravelly Range Road to film a true branding going on. What kind of branding does Bob Pittman want or better yet, deserve?

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