Details on Yesterday’s Massive Clear Channel Cuts

The entire Metro Traffic division shuttered. 

Many medium size markets hit by massive firings. 

Here is team coverage from my network of courageous news sources on the ground at Clear Channel.

The real story of what is going down. How long before it happens again.

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1.  Are they done now?  How long before it happens again?

2.  Look into Clear Channel’s RIF Game Plan to see why PDs have increasingly become expendable.

3.  Chilling eyewitness account:  A former employee familiar with GSelector beta reports on all the things corporate will soon be able to do without a program director or local talent.  In his own words!

4.  Clear Channel employees still don’t think corporate will fire PDs in major markets.  They need to read this.

5.  The end game – how many live PDs per market.  Three?  One?  None?  I’ve got Clear Channel’s new minimum number for you.

6.  UGLY!  A report of four police squad cars called to a major market Clear Channel facility while the firings were happening systemwide.  I’ll tell you where.

The answers begin here.

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Media Solutions Lab 13 set for January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ. 

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Limbaugh Losing Ground

When the general manager of a sports team gives a public vote of confidence to his embattled manager, the manager usually gets fired shortly thereafter.

Yesterday, Clear Channel’s “general manager” Bob Pittman gave his star a rousing public vote of confidence.

Guess what’s happening next.

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1.  Limbaugh haters are about to get something even better handed to them than Rush being fired.  Here’s what it is – and it’s going to happen.

2.  The plan that Limbaugh’s detractors are using that is still working – showing no signs of letting up. 

3.  What made Pittman finally make a public statement in defense of Rush.

4.  Oh, and Cumulus got caught lying about the affiliates it has lined up to be the more conversational and less confrontational Limbaugh replacement.  Tricky!

5.  How long before Limbaugh non-Clear Channel affiliates will be able to last without making any money.  

6.  Prediction:  what Rush Limbaugh is likely to do next now that advertisers are still not coming back and Pittman says his job is secure.  Lookout!

The answers begin here.

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Consolidators Begging Fired Employees to Return

The most brutal of the radio groups are trying to hire back the talent they let go – even paid off with severance pay – but you won’t believe what their new deal is.

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1.  A major consolidator had to eat crow and offer at least 5 fired air people their jobs back even as they were browbeating employees at one of their clusters. 

2.  Another operator fired over 20 people in one cluster last year alone.  Here’s the package they offered some of their ex-employees to get them to return to work.

3.  Cumulus paid out the last of their “Stay Bonuses” last week – $50,000 to remain at their Citadel station for six months after Cumulus took over.  Now what?

4.  A report on what happened when one key big market sales executive was hired back after being fired from Cumulus.

5.  Even with the ascent of voice tracking and syndication, have we seen the end of wanton firings as consolidators discover that they can’t make it on that alone?  Or not?  Our read on the situation.

The answers begin here.

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Questionable Radio Deals With Record Labels

Lucky no one is watching the store.

Radio groups are reinventing how they get in bed with record labels for special favors to their stations.

Some groups may be doing it legally and one, which we’ll name, may not.

This is a trend worth watching as the radio industry morphs from a local service into an appendage for investment banker portfolios and eventually larger media companies.

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1.  At least two big radio groups are getting into practices that may blur the line between what winds up on the air and what the stations get from artists and labels in return.  I’ll name the two groups.

2.  The heavy-handed technique one group used to deliver for the record label at the expense of the station.

3.  The more careful and legal approach used by another group that benefitted the group and pleased the label.

4.  The details on how radio groups get around the favors they do for labels.  I’ll explain.

5.  The bareknuckle approach some groups use to bully local PDs into fulfilling these sleazy deals corporate puts together.

The answers begin here.

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Clear Channel Targeting PDs

There is now evidence from people who work at Clear Channel that a massive purging of program directors is coming.

New technology being implemented currently is going to make it possible for Clear Channel to rid itself of program directors in all but the most critical situations.

There are signs that are apparent to those who work in programming at Clear Channel and I will share their views on when, how and where these changes will take place.

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1.  The giveaway – one thing Clear Channel is doing almost everywhere that signals an end to program directors except in the most competitive situations.

2.  Who will be spared and who will lose their PDs.

3.  The time frame is rather urgent – maybe more urgent than a lot of people in Clear Channel think.  I’ll zero in on it to give the best guess as to when these changes will take place.

4.  The thing that emboldens consolidators like Clear Channel to make such a drastic move to rid themselves of a once indispensable part of every radio station.

5.  There is a ray of hope – but it may be temporary – until all the Clear Channel stations make the change. 

The answers begin here.

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My next Media Solutions Lab is January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.  The year ahead in radio, music and digital.

Never fear life’s disadvantages again – in fact, you’ll relish them, put them to work for you and be happier and more successful than ever.  Discover how in my book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” here.  Buy the paperback or download now for under $9.99 here

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Rush Limbaugh and Freedom of Speech

One month since Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute”.

Lots has happened.

Cumulus is now insulting Limbaugh in marketing its Rush substitute, Mike Huckabee.

Why Clear Channel still hasn’t said a peep and how they are thinking this thing eventually plays out.

But big trouble is still ahead.

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1.  Rush Limbaugh’s people have been counterattacking lately by blaming accusers of trying to impede freedom of speech.  Is that strategy beginning to payoff?

2.  Rush has dinged talk radio, no doubt, but look what Cumulus is doing to the genre in trying to sell their new Mike Huckabee Show as a better alternative. 

3.  How long before the renegade Limbaugh advertisers return?  Here’s an up to the minute head count.

4.  First look at Huckabee’s affiliate lineup and ad rates.

5.  The chances of Huckabee hurting Rush Limbaugh and what will hurt him even more.

6.  Prediction:  when the controversy will blow over, when his advertisers will return and what happens next to Limbaugh’s ratings.

The answers begin here.

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Thanks to everyone who attended yesterday’s 90th Anniversary of WIP Philadelphia celebration that I was honored to moderate and emcee.  Great radio came alive again if only for a few hours.  It makes you appreciate the importance of live and local management, talent and sales. 

My next Media Solutions Lab is January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.  It’s about media solutions.

Never fear life’s disadvantages again – in fact, you’ll relish them, put them to work for you and be happier and more successful than ever.  Discover how in my book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” here.  Buy the paperback or download now for under $9.99 here

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12 Listener Changes You May Not Know

Here are changing listener attitudes about things like …

Commercial breaks … music sweeps … Facebook and Twitter … a new popular social network  … the uncoolest thing you can do on the air … the best new social network that listeners want from radio … the biggest listener addiction you need to feed … a shocker about community involvement … a changing attitude about games … the new “dirty word” you will want to avoid.

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My next Media Solutions Lab is January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.  It’s about media solutions.

Never fear life’s disadvantages again – in fact, you’ll relish them, put them to work for you and be happier and more successful than ever.  Discover how in my book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” here.  Buy the paperback or download now for under $9.99 here

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Cumulus Now Posting Spy Warnings

You’re not going to believe this but Cumulus is now posting notices that officially put their employees on notice they are being spied on.

But not all employees are taking this outrage sitting down.

An eyewitness report from a newstipster in our witness protection program is also spying on them.

Here’s what we’ve found out.

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1.  An actual picture of the Cumulus spy notification posted in the break room of a Cumulus cluster.  Rod Stewart was right – every picture tells a story.

2.  The market where this sign is currently posted to serve as an apparent legal notice to employees thinking of suing Cumulus for invasion of privacy.

3.  How the Cumulus spy cam works and what Atlanta gets to see not only when sales meetings are being held but also when they are not being held.

4.  One vital employee quit in the spy cluster recently after almost 10 years.  Wait until you hear what Cumulus lost.

5.  This is the market run by Lew Dickey’s new best friend.  How’s that recent firing of local air people working out for you?  We’ll breakout the ratings and see.

The answers begin here.

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My next Media Solutions Lab is January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.  It’s about media solutions.

Never fear life’s disadvantages again – in fact, you’ll relish them, put them to work for you and be happier and more successful than ever.  Discover how in my book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” here.  Buy the paperback or download now for under $9.99 here

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Defending Against Declining Radio Rates

Radio’s new obsession with pricing advertising the way airlines price their seats is starting to have deleterious results.

And it doesn’t help that the industry’s number one group, Clear Channel, is fully operational with a national rate pricing system that actually pressures radio rates down.

Radio One CEO Al Liggins blasted Clear Channel for that approach late last week but there are positive things that can be done now to offset the effects of selling down rates. 

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1.  Media buyers are increasingly emboldened – they are squeezing radio rates on a good day even without Clear Channel’s bouncing rate card, but here is one specific thing buyers will pay a premium for.  Do it.

2.  A pro-active way for radio owners to not only hold the maximum rate but actually increase it among current advertisers.  It’s being done right now.  I’ll tell you where, who and how.

3.  Distance your station from rate droppers with the solution I explain in this piece is easy to implement and fast working.

4.  And, be careful of selling digital along side of radio -- here’s how buyers have wised up to getting top rate for both.  From now on rate cutters will be on their own.

The answers begin here.

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Clear Channel Turns On Its Memphis Henchman

Updated Version – new information

In the trade press, the firing last week of a Memphis market manager was described as a routine change in management, but it was far from that.

In fact, they left out two key elements.

That after doing all their firing and cutting back, Clear Channel wasted him in the worst way for all his blind loyalty to the Evil Empire. 

And, even as they threatened their surviving employees with their jobs in a meeting right after the management change, Clear Channel was simultaneously trying to rehire people they fired months and even years ago – people who they also threatened on the way out the door.

Here’s a first person account of the real story:

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1.  Brutal firing tactics – how one of “Hogan’s Henchmen” axed the market manager who until last week was their henchman.

2.  Details of the 7-minute ensuing staff meeting that sounded like it came right out of the Bill Bungeroth Cumulus playbook not Clear Channel’s – a meeting in which employees were insulted and threatened.  I’ve got the quote.

3.  The real reason Clear Channel may have acted in cold blood and believe it or not it had a lot less to do with underachieving than something else.

4.  Lew Dickey is kicking Clear Channel’s butt in Memphis and the way Dickey is managing this market is unlike how he runs his others.  I’ll explain.

5.  Fired employees revenge – the Clear Channel station that fired four key air people last fall, WDIA is trying to hire them back even as they were threatening others last week.  The dysfunctional details.   

The answers begin here.

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My next Media Solutions Lab is January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.  It’s about media solutions.

Never fear life’s disadvantages again – in fact, you’ll relish them, put them to work for you and be happier and more successful than ever.  Discover how in my book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” here.  Buy the paperback or download now for under $9.99 here

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