Adios, (Radio) Mediageek

I spent my New Year’s eve in somewhat bittersweet celebration with my compadre Paul Riismandel, otherwise well-known as the Mediageek. After seven and a half years of doing his Mediageek radioshow, which had been syndicated on more than a dozen stations in North America, Paul’s decided to hang up the mic. Continue reading “Adios, (Radio) Mediageek”

Comcastic Adventures: Coming to Everyone?

It’s difficult, even for me, to wrap my head around the scale and scope of the merger-in-progress between Comcast and NBC/Universal. I’ll leave it to Harold Feld, who comprehensively (and in eminently-readable fashion) analyzes the implications of this deal.
Quoth Feld, “In ideological terms, it is rather like Vatican City joining the Arab League.” Distinctively, it’s the first merger where historical enemies in the Big Media marketplace are now combining. The implications are massive; Comcast’s promises of the merger’s benefits clearly ring hollow. Continue reading “Comcastic Adventures: Coming to Everyone?”

Good Riddance to BusRadio

It is with no small sense of satisfaction that I note the passage of BusRadio, a hare-brained idea that, for about the last three years, force-fed advertising into school buses under the guise of “safety” and then crowed to its potential sponsors about the size of its “captive audience.” Details are sketchy, but late last month the company suddenly called it quits, citing adverse market forces.
BusRadio, above and beyond the ethical issues it raised, always seemed to me to be a little bit sketchy. And after several school districts – followed most recently by the FCC – took a closer look at the modus operandi of the business, it would seem investors dried up. And for good reason. Continue reading “Good Riddance to BusRadio”

Serving the Public Disinterest, Inconvenience, and Depravity

The old adage that Clear Channel represents the “Evil Empire” in terms of media conglomerates was getting a little stale. The windfall profits reaped from industry consolidation following the Telecommunications Act of 1996 have collapsed; the company went from private to public and back again; and, has been well noted by others, just about every major radio conglomerate is now in the same dire straits.
Clear Channel’s ways of dissing the public interest to preserve a buck have been well-documented by Eric Klinenberg and Alec Foege, but lately the company’s gone above and beyond many of its past transgressions. Continue reading “Serving the Public Disinterest, Inconvenience, and Depravity”

Del Colliano Chroncles the Cratering of Radio

I know I’ve mentioned Inside Music Media before but its proprietor, Jerry Del Colliano, has been on quite a roll over the last couple of months. Some examples:
IMM predicted mass-cutbacks at Clear Channel weeks before they were announced – and then gave the most accurate figures publicly available on the real size and scope of the layoffs. Continue reading “Del Colliano Chroncles the Cratering of Radio”

Radio Dying? Depends On Your Perspective

Believe it or not, I am not the most pessimistic person out there when it comes to the future of radio. If you haven’t been reading Inside Music Media, I recommend you begin post-haste.
The blog’s author, Jerry Del Colliano, is a consummate radio professional. I remember reading his Inside Radio newsletter back when I worked in the business. That publication infuriated Clear Channel so much – in large part because Jerry was so good at decoding the company’s predatory consolidation plans – that Clear Channel actually began a slander publication to drag Jerry’s good name through the mud. He didn’t take that lightly, filing a $100+ million suit against the radio titan. Continue reading “Radio Dying? Depends On Your Perspective”

The Wheels on BusRadio Go Round, Fall Off?

A recent Counterpunch article on BusRadio, the secretive yet insidious company which desires to hard-wire school buses into a closed-circuit radio network chock full of targeted advertising, highlights the company’s struggling fortunes: recently the school board in Jefferson County, Kentucky rejected an overture from BusRadio after mass protest from parents, students, and citizens. Continue reading “The Wheels on BusRadio Go Round, Fall Off?”

Clear Channel Buyout Update

The wheels are well in motion to take Clear Channel private. Shareholders will vote on the deal March 21. They’re being offered $37.60 for each share of stock they own, which is about a dollar and small change more than it’s currently trading for, and near the 52-week high, though just 41% of what CCU stock was worth back in its heyday, 1999.
Clear Channel’s executives are obviously urging all shareholders to approve the buyout (they call it a “merger”), as it represents the best option to “maximize shareholder value” given “extensive review of available strategic alternatives, taking into careful account the continued challenges in the broadcasting sector and…recent growth in the domestic outdoor [advertising] business, as well as future growth opportunities.” Continue reading “Clear Channel Buyout Update”

Army Surrenders Reporter's Subpoena

Though the court-marital of Army Lieutenant Ehren Watada is still slated to go down next week, independent journalist Sarah Olson will not be called upon to testify. Two charges of “conduct unbecoming an officer,” stemming from anti-war statements Lt. Watada made to Olson that she subsequently published, have been dropped. Watada stipulates to his public utterances being true, which means the Army may still use them against him in retaliation for speaking out against the occupation of Iraq. Continue reading “Army Surrenders Reporter's Subpoena”

Turning Reporters Into Informants

Visit Defend the Press and learn how the U.S. Army is attempting to force a journalist into helping chill the speech of conscientiously-objecting soldiers and the coverage of their statements. The case of Lt. Ehren Watada itself stands to clarify the boundaries of what is considered acceptable public speech for those in uniform – but in no way should a journalist be hauled into court to substantiate this persecution.
I had the opportunity to interview Sarah Olson during the National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis earlier this month, and was proud to be her first signatory to the coalition seeking to keep her free to report such important stories, and journalism in general free from fear of being drafted.