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Clear Channel’s murky future

I have avoided commenting on the recent moves by Clear Channel to “tighten their belts” prior to the hoped-for closing of their buyout largely because the whole thing strikes me as so very sad.

Sad because eliminating new hires (including sellers), failing to replace those who leave, stopping all investment in the future, and halting all advertising and research is the equivalent of saying that necessity requires us to strangle the goose that lays the golden eggs, even as the goose is up for sale.

It’s one thing to institute cuts. It’s another to cut off oxygen.

Say what you want about the challenges of the newspaper industry, which for now are far more dire than what faces radio, but even the print guys haven’t gone this far.

“No one anticipated how challenging Q1 would be for us,” wrote CCU head John Hogan, who obviously has not been reading this blog over the past year or two. He certainly didn’t read my outline of the “perfect storm” facing radio this year (I have yet to pen Part 2 of the “perfect storm” – the part with the solutions. Although I have many in mind and I will spell them out here soon).

So more than anything this makes me feel very sad.

Sad for the millions of listeners who depend on Clear Channel stations every day who will have one more reason to listen to something else.

Sad for the thousands of employees who give their all for their little corner of the Clear Channel empire.

Sad for the shock waves this sends throughout our industry, affecting us all.

Sad for Clear Channel’s future, which is likely to include far fewer radio stations and far fewer employees than anyone today can imagine.

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