Clear Channel: Sold

As a rudimentary reading of the tea leaves has shown, Clear Channel has elected to go private, accepting a buyout offer of nearly $19 billion from two private investment firms. On the same day, Clear Channel announced it would divest its holdings of radio stations outside of the top 100 markets – just under 39% of its total station inventory, minus those small cluster-sales it has already made over the last couple of months.
It’s anybody’s guess what a leaner, meaner private Clear Channel may mean; regulatory review and approval of the deal will be required. There already may be a shareholder lawsuit in the works, too.
I’m interested in what this means in the context of radio’s ongoing digitalization. Clear Channel is a major investor in iBiquity Digital Corporation, which has been actively pushing the rollout of its half-assed technology.
It’s almost as if perhaps Clear Channel is shedding its stations in order to focus its digital strategy, in effect abandoning the proliferation of the technology for rural and exurban America. Don’t know what this means with regard to actually seeing a bona-fide national rollout in the near future, but it certainly doesn’t look hopeful.