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A history of the clear channel radio station

A fast-growing, diversified media company, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. The company acquired the bulk of its broadcasting properties following the Telecommunications Act ofwhich lifted restrictions on national radio station ownership. During the late s, the company was diversifying beyond the broadcasting business by acquiring billboards in major metropolitan markets.

  • As the company prepared plans for the late s and the beginning of the 21st century, more acquisitions were in the offing;
  • The figures were deceiving, however, because they did not accurately convey the financial progress the company had made during the two-year period;
  • Hicks, Clear Channel's former vice-chairman, is a past donor to George W.

Bythe company ranked as the second-largest outdoor advertiser in the United States. In addition to its domestic radio and television stations, Clear Channel also operated broadcasting properties in New Zealand and Australia. Early s Origins For L. Lowry Mays, everything changed in From there, it was back to Texas, where Mays settled in as an investment banker.

It was a natural progression from his years at Harvard, but when two businessmen walked into his office at the small investment banking concern he was running in San Antonio, Mays' life took a defining turn.

Clear channel

Mays agreed, and delved into researching the details of the radio business, demonstrating a thoroughness that would become one of his trademarks in later years. As preparations for the project were underway, the two businessmen backed out of the deal, leaving Mays with a headful of information about the radio industry.

Clear Channel Communications

Mays pursued the investment opportunity on his own, enlisting the help of a local car dealer named B. Nevertheless, he soon began to demonstrate the assiduous, hands-on type of management that would become another one of his defining trademarks. He and McCombs whose later business achievements included acquiring the San Antonio Spurs professional basketball team poured more cash into the station and changed its format to country music.

At the same time, the partners expanded the station's sales force and increased its promotion budget, with a focus on maximizing advertising revenue. Making money in broadcasting, Mays reasoned, required forging a close and profitable relationship with the advertisers whose dollars drove a radio station's financial growth.

Music format changes and programming adjustments were made, to be sure, but increasing cash flow by attracting advertisers was the chief concern. By this point, inMays had already established the blueprint for Clear Channel's future expansion.

In the years to follow, he would acquire distressed stations in such mid-sized, second-tier markets as El Paso, Memphis, Louisville, and New Orleans, and bring them to profitability. Each acquisition candidate had to meet strict criteria before joining the Clear Channel fold, and, once added to the company's portfolio of broadcasting properties, each acquisition was transformed by the same principles: Mays rarely tinkered with a station's programming format.

AM Clear Channel Radio Frequency Table

Instead, all efforts were directed at the acquisition's financial performance. Developments inhowever, promised to usher in a new era of animated growth.

  • Making money in broadcasting, Mays reasoned, required forging a close and profitable relationship with the advertisers whose dollars drove a radio station's financial growth;
  • Contest prizes included breast enlargement surgery but provided for no legal recourse in the event of malpractice;
  • Women's health advocates heavily criticized a contest "Breast Christmas Ever" that went to air in Tampa, Jacksonville, St;
  • Hicks, Clear Channel's former vice-chairman, is a past donor to George W;
  • This is intended to provide additional revenue to the artist, venue, and promoter, as well as stifle the demand for unauthorized bootleg concert recordings made by audience members for profit;
  • In addition to its domestic radio and television stations, Clear Channel also operated broadcasting properties in New Zealand and Australia.

In that year, the Federal Communications Commission FCC loosened ownership restrictions for radio and television properties, decreeing that companies could own up to 12 AM stations, 12 FM stations, and 12 television stations. Prior tothe FCC barred companies from owning more than seven properties in each category. Mays and the rest of the broadcasting industry celebrated the news.

As expected, companies began acquiring broadcasting properties in earnest, swallowing up one after another to take advantage of the relaxed ownership restrictions; Clear Channel, however, stood by.

Conspicuous by his absence from the acquisition frenzy, Mays was criticized by industry observers as a former investment banker who analyzed deals and then decided not to get involved.

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Mays later explained that Clear Channel's inactivity was not due to a lack of effort or interest. If you stick by your targets for return on investment, it will take you out of the market.

  1. In October, the company made its next definitive move, signing an agreement to purchase Universal Outdoor Inc. Consequently, the price of radio properties dropped dramatically, creating numerous opportunities for Mays.
  2. Some of the counter-demonstrators waved flags, messages of support for the troops, and banners attacking liberals, excoriating the UN, and in one case, advising, "Bomb France Now.
  3. Clear Channel was criticized for an incident that occurred in Minot , North Dakota , when a Canadian Pacific Railway train filled with toxic anhydrous ammonia derailed early on the morning of January 18 , 2002. By 1997, the company ranked as the second-largest outdoor advertiser in the United States.
  4. At the same time, the partners expanded the station's sales force and increased its promotion budget, with a focus on maximizing advertising revenue.
  5. In contrast, however, the company recently won in an arbitration dispute with XM Satellite Radio over the right to air commercials on its XM music channels. Early 1970s Origins For L.

Inwhen all radio acquisitions had been put on hold, Mays jumped into the television market, acquiring a station in Mobile, Alabama, that was an affiliate of the Fox TV network, which was just beginning its bid to become the fourth major network in the country. After acquiring the station in Mobile, Mays went on to purchase television stations in Tucson, Jacksonville, Tulsa, Wichita, and Memphis, each a Fox affiliate except for the Tucson property.

The foray into television broadcasting proved to be a financial boon for Clear Channel, particularly because of the success enjoyed by the Fox TV network as it developed into the country's fourth major television network. Early s Expansion Beginning in mid, Mays changed course and began to acquire radio stations at a voracious rate, motivated by changing conditions in the radio industry.

Companies that had acquired radio stations during the s had paid high prices, and during the economic recession of the early s many of those companies were saddled with debt and forced to sell. Consequently, the price of radio properties dropped dramatically, creating numerous opportunities for Mays. In the company leaped well beyond its established operating territory when it acquired a 50 percent interest in the Australian Radio Network.

  1. Mays pursued the investment opportunity on his own, enlisting the help of a local car dealer named B.
  2. In April, the company acquired Eller Media Company, the oldest and largest billboard operator in the United States with more than 50, outdoor display faces in 15 major metropolitan markets. Current members of the board of directors of Clear Channel Communications are.
  3. Consequently, the price of radio properties dropped dramatically, creating numerous opportunities for Mays.

By the end of that year, Clear Channel owned 36 radio stations and 10 television stations, which represented a modest increase over the total number of properties it owned in The figures were deceiving, however, because they did not accurately convey the financial progress the company had made during the two-year period. Because of the strategy employed by Mays, Clear Channel exited in enviable financial shape and ready to take advantage of a momentous announcement by the FCC.

The Telecommunications Act of lifted national radio ownership restrictions and eased local limitations, touching off a spate of acquisitions for those with the financial wherewithal to acquire broadcasting properties.

Clear Channel Communications

Clear Channel was one of those companies in a financial position that permitted aggressive expansion and, in fact, was leading the pack. The company's history of robust cash-flow growth and its discipline in acquiring stations for bargain prices had investors clamoring for more. As the company prepared plans for the late s and the beginning of the 21st century, more acquisitions were in the offing.

AM Clear Channel Radio Frequency Table

Clear Channel's progress in set the tone for the company's course of development in the future. In April, the company acquired Eller Media Company, the oldest and largest billboard operator in the United States with more than 50, outdoor display faces in 15 major metropolitan markets. In June, the company acquired a 32 percent interest in Spanish-language broadcaster Heftel Broadcasting Corp. In October, the company made its next definitive move, signing an agreement to purchase Universal Outdoor Inc.

On the heels of these forays into Spanish-language broadcasting and into billboards, Mays and the rest of Clear Channel's management scanned the horizon for future acquisition targets, intent on building their company into a formidable giant.

FCC Weighing the End of Clear Channel AM Stations

Clear Channel Communications of Memphis, Inc. Rathbun, Elizabeth, "Texas Size: Viles, Peter, "Clear Channel: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.

  • Madonna had also faced similar problems when she released her anti-Iraq war album, American Life , and faced reduced radio airplay throughout the release of her album in
  • Clear Channel-owned KTVX was the only local television station which refused to air the paid political message of Cindy Sheehan against the war in Iraq;
  • Mays later explained that Clear Channel's inactivity was not due to a lack of effort or interest;
  • Prior to , the FCC barred companies from owning more than seven properties in each category.