Archive | February, 2004

Somebody Gets It — Howard Stern Wasn’t Censored by Clear Channel, It’s a Power Play

Costa Tsiokos, who writes the blog The Critical ‘I’, nails what’s really behind Clear Channel’s removal of the Howard Stern show from 6 stations (out of 1200!):

– Stern’s show is produced in partnership with Viacom, which owns Infinity Broadcasting, which is the second-largest radio network, behind–hello!–Clear Channel.

The same reaction to the Bubba firing applies here: I find it hard to believe that Clear Channel only now determined that a show like Howard Stern’s could be construed as objectionable. The motivation lies elsewhere, beyond a corporate impulse to conform to decency standards.

Clear Channel is orchestrating the current climate to put pressure on its chief rival, Viacom/Infinity. Much like the firing of Bubba was designed to appease the FCC and lead to a reduction in the levied fines, the Stern action is designed to give the appearance of “cracking down”, when it’s really an opportunistic power play.

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Real Broadcast Decency

With all this talk about broadcast indecency, such as the news that Clear Channel dropped Howard Stern from six stations today while instituting on-air decency standards, it gets me thinking about what’s really indecent, and what actually would be decent.

You know what would represent real decency on the part of the big radio giants, like Clear Channel?

It would be truly decent of them to sell off, say, half of their radio holdings. I think it would be truly decent of Clear Channel to look at every market where they have a stranglehold, owning 4, 6 or 8 stations, and decided that it was too much, and then gave away even just a few of those stations to the local community.

Deciding that near-monopoly power to homogenize the airwaves isn’t such a great thing would be really decent of them.

Bare breasts, dick jokes, and discussion about Paris Hilton’s sex life are really minor indecencies in comparison to the wholesale gutting of any creativity or public service in the radio industry that has happened since 1996.

Oh, yeah… and it would be really decent of Clear Channel to syndicate the mediageek radio show, too. Morning drive time would be fine with me.

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