Radio AM to FM: August 24, 2001
The Jedi Strike Back
I have long felt -- and stated -- that Clear Channel Communications, with over 1200 radio stations (including an estimated 60% of the country's popular music stations) and a huge portion of the concert promotional business, is and acts as a monopoly. Judging from reader mail, reports on Salon.Com and posts to radio-related internet bulletin boards, many others agree.
Finally, someone is taking action. A Denver concert promotion company called Nobody in Particular Presents (NPP) has filed an antitrust suit in the Denver Federal Court, charging that Clear Channel penalizes performing artists who hire NPP by keeping those artists off of Clear Channel-owned stations.
NPP alleges that CC "repeatedly has used its size and clout to coerce artists to use Clear Channel to promote their concerts or else risk losing air play and other on-air promotional support."
Further, the suit claims that NPP has been unsuccessful in its attempts to buy ads on Clear Channel stations, giving an example of ads running late at night instead of as scheduled as well as having promotional tickets given to station employees rather than listeners.
Charges far less than this cost RKO its broadcast license for every station it owned 20 years ago when the justice department and the FCC actually looked after our public airwaves. In my opinion, Clear Channel is as large a monopoly as Microsoft and has proven itself to be as anticompetitive and just bad for radio. Hopefully this suit will be followed by others and the great Clear Channel Empire, with its bullying tactics and lame programming, will begin to crumble. In my opinion, It can't happen too soon.
Hot 92.3 FM General Manager Roy Laughlin keeps trying to hype the new station as a brand-new format, one that will spread throughout the country. I don't doubt that it may spread, but apparently he hasn't listened to KJLH (102.3 FM), which has run the same format for years, albeit with a weaker signal.
We Get Letters
Q: I was wondering if you have information about a DJ named Jay William Weed who worked at KSJO-FM/San Jose in the late '60s or early '70s. I want to know if that was his real name or an air name, and what happened to him. (Chris, internet)
A: I have no clue, so I am putting this out to everyone in the Rave! audience. If anyone has any information, please write to me and I will forward it to Chris.
Q: I just thought I'd write an email telling you how much of a fan I am of you. I use (sic) to live in Los Angeles but had to move recently; when I lived there, I use (sic) to listen to you on the radio all the time. I loved listen (sic) to your station on my way to and from work. Keep up the great work. Could you please send me an autographed photo of you? I would really love to have one since I enjoy your work so much. (Joseph, Boyertown, PA, via the internet)
A: (Apparently I am on a mailing list related to radio) Sure ... um ... your photo is on the way ...
Copyright © 2001 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
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