Saturday, January 17, 2009

Radio: High-fiving a blind guy

Ryan Seacrest is a fitting poster boy for his employer, Clear Channel Communications.

For Seacrest, trying to high-five a blind guy is what he really does on his American Idol gig. For Clear Channel, the biggest of broadcasting's corporate behemoths, trying to high-five a blind guy is only an apt metaphor of how they run their radio stations.

PRACTICALLY AND METAPHORICALLY, it's not going to work so well.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Clear Channel Communications Inc. plans to lay off about 7% of its U.S. staff and replace more local shows with syndicated content, moves that could affect the broader radio and outdoor-advertising businesses for years to come.

Tuesday, Clear Channel will lay off about 1,500 employees, mostly in ad sales, and implement other cuts aimed at saving close to $400 million, according to a person familiar with the situation. The company, which employs about 20,000 people in the U.S., declined to comment.


On the radio side, the company is likely to eliminate chunks of local programming and replace it with national programming, much as it has brought Ryan Seacrest's Los Angeles-based radio show to other markets in recent months. If a local show seems successful, the company will try to syndicate it faster than it might have in the past, a person familiar with the situation said.

CAN YOU IMAGINE? Ryan Seacrest on station after station after station. It's going to be like trying to find something other than Rush Limbaugh -- or Rush wannabes -- on AM radio from 11 to 2.

Only with overresearched, underwhelming Top-40 music.

Wash, rinse, find a Ryan Seacrest for each format, repeat. God Almighty.

Your Right Hand Thief.

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