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Response to Smackdown2019 (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2018, 09:16 AM

18. Flashback to 2002

Clear Channel: the Media Mammoth that Stole the Airwaves

Can you name a Texas-based multinational company that is facing a Department of Justice investigation, lawsuits for inappropriate business practices, a flurry of criticism in the mainstream press, and a bill in congress to curb its impact on the industry?
Did you say Enron? Try again.

This 800 lb. Texas gorilla has spent $30 billion since 1996 to become the world’s largest radio broadcaster, concert promoter, and billboard advertising firm. It’s a major player in American television and Spanish-language broadcasting.

Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio may not be a household name yet, but in less than six years it has rocketed to a place alongside NBC and Gannett as one of the largest media companies in the United States. The mega-company has gained a reputation for its ugly hardball tactics. Clear Channel has played a leading role in destroying media diversity in the United States. And yes, it is the same media company that allegedly “blacklisted” certain songs following September 11, including Cat Stevens’ Peace Train and John Lennon’s Imagine.

“It’s not just how big and powerful they are but how they do business, the arm twisting,” Mike Jacobs, former independent label owner and manager of Blink 182, told Eric Boehlert who has been covering Clear Channel’s shady business practices for Salon.com.

Media Mobster

Before passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a company could not own more than 40 radio stations in the entire country. With the Act’s sweeping relaxation of ownership limits, Clear Channel now owns approximately 1225 radio stations in 300 cities and dominates the audience share in 100 of 112 major markets. Its closest competitors — CBS and ABC, media giants in their own right — own only one-fifth as many stations.

Accusations abound that Clear Channel illegally uses its dominance in radio to help secure control of the nation’s live entertainment business. Several cities, including Denver and Cincinnati, have charged radio station managers with threatening to withdraw certain music from rotation if the artists do not perform at a Clear Channel venue. This tactic, known as “negative synergy,” has allegedly been used to pressure record companies into buying radio-advertising spots in cities where they want to book concert venues.

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