Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3.16.16 Bee-otch of the Day: corporate radio

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Name: corporate radio
Age: ageless
Occupation: supposed entertainers and informers of the public
Last Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: going belly up

A long, long time ago, radio used to belong to the people.

In the 1950s, the government ruled that the airwaves belonged to the people. In other words, if somebody made a viewpoint on TV, somebody had the right to counter that person's point. Usually, these editorials were made during newscasts and when stations signed off at night. Oh, and 1977-78 episodes of Saturday Night Live where conservative Dan Aykroyd lovingly called liberal Jane Curtin a slut during Weekend Update.

Of course, all that came to a crashing halt in 1987 when the FCC shitcanned the Fairness Doctrine, allowing Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh and other passengers in the Republican clown car unlimited airtime. Things even got worse when President Clinton and house speaker Newt Gingrich both agreed on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, allowing broadcasters more unlimited ownership of radio and TV stations. Clear Channel, Cumulus, CBS and others started swallowing up radio and TV stations by the armload, even paying top dollar for stations that were far, far away from any city of high population.

Twenty years later, they're paying the price.

In the case of the company formerly known as Clear Channel, iHeartMedia, their creditors have now told the company to pony up $6 billion within a little less than 60 days or else things could get very, very ugly. The company's current debt is valued at around $21 billion. Things only got worse for the ailing media giant when three years ago, advertisers for their popular Rush Limbaugh program pulled after the bloated pill-popper called the highly-educated Sandra Fluke a slut on the air. Of course, unlike Dan Aykroyd, Rush Limbaugh is anything but funny.

But that's not all. Cumulus Media is also in trouble. It's been revealed that the company is now $2.5 billion in debt, too. A lot of it is due to the company's investments in unpopular formats such as the nationwide Nash network and unpopular jocks such as west Michigan's "Huge" Bill Simonson. Not to mention how they killed the popular Oldies format on WHNN 96.1 in the Tri Cities here in Michigan for an AC format that might be lucky to hit a two share.

So far, the only wise people in radio seem to be CBS. They've announced that they are planning to sell some of their stations and they've recently put the legendary WNEW call letters back on 102.7 in New York, currently ho-hum AC outlet Fresh 102.7. It might put some speculation that 102.7 might return to rock, a format sorely missed in the Big Apple. Then again, CBS has done a yeoman's job of killing their rock stations one by one and replacing them with wither Sports or CHR.

If there's one person who should be laughing at all this, it's Howard Stern. Clear Channel canned him on all of their stations in 2004 after the accidental Janet Jackson Super Bowl nip slip and Cumulus also got rid of his show on all the stations they bought around 2000. One station, Toledo's Buzz 106.5 never recovered in the ratings. Then again, so did many other ex-Stern stations.

You know, radio should be about the listener, not what the owners want. This is why people listen to Pandora, Sirius and other alternative radio services these days. If radio wants to survive, they need to listen to the listener. Stations need to look at ratings and audience reactions, not pull shit out of their asses. Maybe if Clear Channel and Cumulus knew what the people wanted, they wouldn't be billions in debt.

And who's the sluts now?


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