October 27, 2001
Clear Channel is Ruining Your Radio
source: Texas Monthly
If you have never heard of a San Antonio company called Clear Channel Communications, it's because you aren't listening. From its unlikely nerve center in south-central Texas, this once modest, family-run owner of a handful of radio and television stations has exploded into a media giant, dominating radio like no single entity ever has before. Unleashed by government deregulation in 1996, founder Lowry Mays shelled out billions for properties like Jacor Communications and Tom Hicks's AMFM, formerly the biggest radio conglomerate in the country. Today one of every ten commercial radio stations in the United States belongs to Clear Channel-including six stations in Dallas-Fort Worth, eight stations in Houston, seven stations in San Antonio, six stations in Austin, six in El Paso-a total of more than 1,200 domestic channels in some 250 markets. Its closest rival, Cumulus Broadcasting, has 240 stations.....
posted on October 27, 2001 05:56 PM
All of this may sound like harmless, run-of-the-mill media giantism in the early twenty-first century. Unfortunately it's not, especially the way the Mays family-Lowry and his sons, Mark and Randall, the company's iron triangle-plays the game. In fact, they give new meaning to the phrase "control of the airwaves." Their size and aggressiveness have given them unprecedented say not only over what you hear on the radio all over the country but in how music is sold, promoted, and performed. As the big guys on the block-who dictate programming at 1,200 stations they are more responsible than anyone else for the cookie-cutter state of radio, where more and more stations sound the same, no matter where you go.