Listeners Send Clear Channel Clear Signals
Today, I wrote about the radical overhaul at radio giant Clear Channel, which just sold itself to some private-equity firms but, more to the point, is also selling off more than one-third of its stations.
After the sale, it will still be the radio industry's biggest player, but it will be a diminished Goliath, sort of like a Goliath sent down to Triple-A ball after that bad game against David.
Clear Channel has been the dartboard for Big Media hatas. Some of the criticism has been deserved, some has not: For instance, Clear Channel did not ban the Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines popped off about President Bush at that show in London in 2003. That was Cumulus, another radio chain. But everyone was ready to believe it was big bad Clear Channel, so they did.
More to the point, Clear Channel -- and all radio companies -- are facing tough times as radio listenership and ad revenue has been falling as you have moved to different kinds of media.
I bought XM satellite radio in December 2001 and never looked back. I'm not sure I can remember the last time I listened to FM radio.
Yet, AM and FM still offer things that satellite radio services do not: local coverage, if they choose to do so, and delivery of local ads. In times of emergency, local radio is still unsurpassed. And with the rollout of digital radio, broadcasters are hoping for a renaissance, with better-sounding radio and more choice (digital side-channels, like on digital TV.)
What's your radio story? Have you given up on AM and FM and switched to satellite or in-car iPods or other substitutes for AM and FM?
Or are you still an AM/FM fan? If so, why? Except for Howard Stern, the biggest radio stars still reside on AM and FM -- Rush Limbaugh, for instance. And maybe you don't want to pay for radio.
What say you?
Today In The Post:
* Brace yourself: Online retailers like Amazon are cranking up their efforts to get your holiday shopping dollars. Yuki Noguchi and Ylan Q. Mui report.
* Hey, gamers: Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the new Nintendo Wii from the guys who built it.
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