A number of my readers contacted me about the recent Jacobs Media blog post-titled “Party On, Bob”.
It’s short and worth the read but it may not go down well with you, either.
In the article, Fred Jacobs – a very good guy who I know loves the radio industry – rationalizes all the good things that Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is doing when he wines and dines ad executives in the South of France.
According to Fred:
“Clear Channel bashers may take the opportunity to criticize this kind of high-priced social networking. Some might even calculate how many lost radio jobs might be restored for the cost of the hors d’oeuvres and place settings. Others might wonder why these same funds aren’t being used to throw some marketing dollars at some of the company’s premier stations”.
Who is Fred talking about? I have no idea.
I wrote Fred an email the other day because this article seemed awfully insensitive to me.
It’s one thing to look the other way while Clear Channel is being ravaged and it’s quite another to put your credibility on the line by taking up in defense of the arrogance of Pittman and his company.
Yes, it is important to have great relationships with advertisers and media buyers.
But Fred leaves out that Pittman’s plan is also about digital ad buying which may tend to bid down spot rates and regional sales centers.
At least mention that, Fred!
“While some advocated for radio to take more of an automated approach to selling (because that is where the world is moving), others pointed out that the personal touch continues to play an important role in making connections, telling stories, and positioning brands in an environment where advertisers are often more confused than we are”.
Pittman is all for the personal touch as long as he is the one personally touching the power brokers.
A better way is to be a strong advocate for local sellers who already have great relationships with buyers and advertisers if Pittman would get out of the way.
It’s the local sellers relationships that matter.
Fred links to some favorable press that Pittman got because of the swine and wine parties at Cannes.
“Someone has to throw their weight around” Jacobs argues.
I thought he was joking, but he isn’t.
Look, I don’t want to get into a pissing match.
I just think a major figure like Jacobs should not prop up this clown.
Pittman will be gone sooners than most people think.
I’ll make it easy.
Clear Channel has fired over 10,000 people since consolidation.
Over a thousand in the last 12 months.
And at holidays.
These are our brethren.
Radio people raising families and not lucky enough to work for themselves.
The company is $21.5 billion in debt and the debt is growing with no chance of paying it down significantly.
Pittman renovated his offices to the tune of $21 million recently that included his infamous “mist tunnel”.
They were paying John Hogan $25,000 a month for expense money to move to New York until they decided to fire him – but they are still paying him the new contract they offered.
Clear Channel employees are the cream of the crop – they deserve better leadership and more from those of us who “observe” what’s right and wrong with the industry.
So, respectfully, I say – stop partying on, Bob.
You’re not Bob Sillerman.
Now he can party!
And you’ll never be Bruce Reese or Ginny Hubbard or Ed Christian or Dan Mason.
Dan Mason has forgotten more about radio than Bob Pittman can remember and Dan doesn’t do this kind of stuff.
Stop sucking up to these people and speak up in defense of our brethren who are forced to suffer fools silently while Bob entertains and overspends.
Talk to Jerry privately here.
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