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Airwaves: February 9, 2007

Clear Channel Deal in Jeopardy

Executives at Clear Channel thought they had everything going their way when they designed a plan to take the company private.

No more would the company have to worry about how it performed, or in the minds of some investors, didn't perform. Just program well and rake in the bucks. Or something like that, anyway. As part of the plan, Clear Channel began to shed itself of some stations in smaller markets that while profitable, didn't add much to the overall bottom line.

Last November, the Board of Directors accepted a deal arranged by current management that would keep management in place while private equity investors bought the company for $37.60 per share, a premium of about 25 percent over the average of the previous month. Other bids were to be entertained until December 7th, though none came through.

Now the company's major stockholders are ranting that the premium isn't enough, even though the close as of Monday was $36.53 per share ... right in line with the offer, and an increase from the announcement in November attributable to that offer.

So the company is launching a road show to convince the major holders to sell. If the top-three don't want to sell, then the entire deal may not go down. A vote by shareholders is expected by late March.

A Charlie for Jim

KLOS's (95.5 FM) legendary personality Jim Ladd was honored last Friday with a Charlie award, presented by the Hollywood Arts Council at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

The awards ceremony was emceed by KABC-TV Channel 7's George Pennacchio, and as it has done for 21 years acknowledged those who have made significant contributions to Hollywood's culture and the arts. Ladd is the only radio personality to receive an award this year.

Host of one of the last, if not the last commercial radio "free-form" rock and roll shows in America, Ladd is perhaps somewhat used to being honored by his peers: he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 ... and if I am not mistaken he may have even received a coveted Waggy award a few years back.

Super Nothing

How do you program a radio station for a time when everyone's watching the Super Bowl on television? You do nothing. Literally.

Figuring that it would be hopeless to program anything that would attract a sizable audience while most of the United States and Mexico was watching the Colts take on the Bears, WBIG/Washington program director Dan Michaels decided to do nothing during the game. So the station turning off the oldies, commercials and announcements for the duration of the game on Sunday.

The station wasn't actually off the air during the stunt -- the transmitter was still on at full power. But with the exception of the top-of-ther-hour legal ID, there was no programming at all.

And since I can't resist, I have to add: it still sounded better and was more entertaining than Jamie White.


Copyright © 2007 Richard Wagoner and Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

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