- they are the world's leading producer and marketer of live entertainment events, owning 135 concert venues (41 of them are amphitheaters) in the U.S.
- they accounted for about 70 percent of concert ticket sales in the U.S. in 2001
- they present Broadway shows in 60 North American markets and own or operate 14 theatrical stages in the U.S. and 23 in the UK
- they stage over 660 motor sports events
- they are the largest operator of radio stations in the U.S., covering all 50 states with 1,225 radio stations in nearly 300 different markets, about 10 percent of the nation's total
(controlling airplay and black-listing musical acts that don't use their concert promotions firm or coercing acts into playing shows for little or no fee by refusing to air their latest songs unless they appear)
- they own and operate, with their international partners, more than 250 radio stations in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe
- they are cutting programming staff. In many markets, sister clusters are taking on more work providing digital voice tracking for smaller sister stations. At these smaller clusters, there may be only 1 live person in the complex for 5 to 6 different stations. That means there is a staff ratio of 1:6 where prior to 1996, the ratio was 1:1 for staffing stations.
- their radio stations sometimes participate in harrassment, hoaxes (one causing a death), animal torture/mutilation/death, and the destruction of wetland habitats for the sake of comedy
- their radio stations are responsibile for such hate-infested programming as Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, two exceedingly right wing syndicated talk show hosts
- their radio stations use digital voice tracking and in-market feeds to mislead listeners into thinking that national contests are local because they dub local DJs' voices into interviews with winners
- the local radio stations that bring in advertising money from your local businesses funnels the money to Texas and Wall Street
- they have been known to control all commercially licensed radio stations in a town and are able to drive up advertising rates
- they own 19 television stations
- their pending acquisition of the Ackerley Group will add 18 television stations to the division, doubling their number of television stations in 2002
- they produce the TV shows "Smallville" and "Arli$$", the TV special "Glory in Black and White: The Story of the 1966 NCAA Champions" (which CBS aired during the NCAA tournament in 2002), and the movie "Hardball"
- they produce over 250 hours of network and cable motor sports programming per year
- they own 770,000 billboards in the United States and have a presence in 46 U.S. markets, reaching more than half the adults in the U.S.
(ever seen the movie "Brazil"?)
- their outdoor products include the Times Square Spectacolor (Clear Channel Spectacolor is the premiere operator of more than 50 outdoor advertising displays in the world famous Times Square area of New York City), shopping malls (more than 350 U.S. shopping malls, delivering a point-of-purchase opportunity where 80% of shoppers make purchase decisions), taxi tops (including the major U.S. taxi markets of New York, Las Vegas, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta, and Miami), mobile truck panels, bus and train stations, and airport advertising (reaching 6 of every 10 travelers each day with advertisements seen in 21 U.S. airport facilities)
- they operate advertising businesses in 65 countries across Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, Mexico and South America
- their street furniture division has contracts in Northern Ireland and China
- they introduced Delta V, a revenue-generating, high-speed Internet accelerator service utilizing broadband digital TV signals in Cincinnati
- they own a leading talent management and marketing agency that represents several hundred of the world's elite professional athletes in basketball, baseball, football, hockey, tennis, golf, soccer, figure skating, and the Olympics, delivering management, marketing, and financial consulting services to professional athletes, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens, John Daly, Greg Norman, Tom Lehman, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Jerry Rice, Donovan McNabb, Timothy Gaebel, and Dan Jansen
- they secured ten first round draft picks in the NBA (including Kwame Brown) and three first round picks in the baseball draft in 2001
- they also represent top sports and news broadcasters
Six years ago, Clear Channel Communications Inc., owned by Texas radio billionaire L. Lowry Mays, owned 36 radio stations, 4 under the legal limit. When Congress did away with most radio station ownership limits with the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Mays went on a shopping spree.
President Bush is linked with Clear Channel Communications. L. Lowry Mays is very friendly with the Bush family, being a fellow Texan with a background in petroleum interests. Another link between Bush and Clear Channel exists between the deal that was made when Bush sold his interest in the professional baseball team, the Texas Rangers, to Tom Hicks, then CEO of AMFM Communications. Tom Hicks, of the leveraged buyout firm Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst, has had substantial interests in the radio broadcast industry. AMFM Communications was aquired by Clear Channel Communications.
The FCC Commissioner is Michael Powell, whose father is General Colin Powell. Both Powells were being prepped for top offices under the hopeful Bush administration. One of the first big issues that FCC Commissioner Powell had to face was the largest communications merger in history, the billion dollar AOL-Time Warner nuptuals. What the general public was shielded from, thanks to the relationship between politics and corporate broadcasters, was the fact that General Colin Powell was on the Board of Directors of AOL, and subsequently was profiting from millions of dollars of AOL stock options. It was found that General Powell also owned stock in Time Warner prior to the merger. FCC Commissioner Powell did not exclude himself from the FCC approval, citing there was no basis to a "fuzzy" connection between himself and AOL.
Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., became the second congressman this year to write to the Department of Justice and ask for an investigation of Clear Channel's practices. Weiner suggested Clear Channel's dominance of the concert business is "harmful to consumers, venue owners and artists." Weiner's letter centered around a specific allegation involving Clear Channel and how it was able to take a venue contract away from a competitor. The allegation is that when a rival beat out Clear Channel in its attempt to buy a New York-based concert promoter, Clear Channel tried to thwart the deal by turning around and poaching one of the promoter's most important assets, a county-run outdoor amphitheater, with an overly generous contract bid that cost Clear Channel money in the end. That allegation is what caught Weiner's attention: "When you start to make deals not in your self-interest and take losses in order to box out the competition, that starts to rise to the level of anti-trust behavior," he says.
Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., wrote to both the Justice Department and the FCC, urging them to examine several of Clear Channel's business practices. Both agencies responded, telling him they were willing to move forward with investigations if they receive evidence of wrongdoing, and would be willing to review any evidence his office receives.
Weiner says if the Justice Department tells him it has examined the company and is satisfied there is no wrongdoing, he and Berman will likely push for a congressional hearing. Although the House of Representatives and its committees are controlled by Republicans--who traditionally see no problem with media consolidation--Weiner says it's "not beyond reason" to suggest a Clear Channel hearing could be scheduled in 2002.
U.S. Senate candidate Andy Martin, Fla., announced that he has filed with the U.S. Department of Justice, proposed criminal charges against Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest radio station owner. Martin stated that he believed Clear Channel had committed wire fraud through its use of false and deceptive listener contests. Martin's referral to the Criminal Division outlines Clear Channel's fraudulent behavior. "I will continue to press state attorneys general to proceed and prosecute under state laws," Martin continued. "But federal criminal charges are now in the hands of independent federal prosecutors.
Recently, the FCC took the rare step of denying a Clear Channel station purchase. Citing concerns about media concentration, the FCC designated one of its administrative law judges to hear the issue--the first time that's been done in more than 30 years. The FCC is weighing evidence submitted last year that Clear Channel illegally "parks" or "warehouses" radio stations it's not allowed to own, by selling them to front, or shell, companies. Clear Channel executives adamantly deny the charge, but a former Clear Channel employee states that the practice goes on in the open. Competitors insist the company, as a way to get around ownership limits, has sold off stations to front companies that allow Clear Channel to continue operating the properties. Those front companies would allow Clear Channel an easy way to buy back the stations if the FCC were to further reduce ownership limits.
In 2001, former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani complained when her fellow commissioners, including chairman Michael Powell, okayed a station sale in Binghamton, N.Y., it gave just two radio broadcasters control of 91.2 percent of the market's advertising revenue. "Businesses and listeners will face the increasing likelihood that the two dominant owners will engage in advertising price discrimination and other collusive behavior that contravenes the public interest," wrote Tristani, who labeled the FCC's sale approval "regulatory malfeasance."
SFX Sports Group
Premier Radio Networks
Some of the information above was from Clear Channel's website.
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