Clear Channel and pride in product in the same sentence? Not a chance.
In the interest of truth and accuracy, I must inform you of Clear Channel’s latest downsizing decree. A few weeks back the Cleveland cluster slashed its board operators. Yes, board ops.
You could see this broom job coming. Last year, the state of Ohio voted for an increase in the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.85. That additional buck-seventy per hour was just too weighty for the frail Clear Channel budgets to bear.
The budget slash calls for one board op to cover all six Cleveland market stations. Since most stations are in syndication or voice-tracking on Clear Channel stations in this market during “at work listening” middays, mistakes and bloopers have become acceptable standard operating procedure.
It’s worse on Saturday and Sundays when you won’t find a living soul on the premises during most hours. Take last weekend when we were hit with a freak major lake effect storm that dumped far more snow in the region than any forecast predicted. You didn’t hear a single weather update on any Clear Channel station. Easter weekend travelers had to seek out other media to get weather and traffic updates.
I’m not sure what value the local Clear Channel decision makers put on contests and giveaways, a weekend staple for most of the CC stations here. The giveaways are prerecorded but – often - there’s no one to take the calls. Try it yourself. I’m not sure what they do with all those unanswered giveaway items – but if I were a client, I’d be concerned. Apparently, it’s not an issue that listeners calling to win will likely hear the ringing of an unanswered phone. In the old days, we’d call that listener deception.
My favorite example of Clear Channel quality control is when their spots go out of whack. You’ll hear music or promos running over spots. I’d consider it a bonus blooper to hear an out-of-date spot, except that it happens all the time – even during hours when the stink of human flesh is wafting in a studio. To paraphrase an old saying: If something goes wrong with a spot and no one hears it did it really get discrep’ed?
Maybe the media mastodons at Clear Channel’s figured out that music radio has become a collection of formats for those who don’t like music. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for those notorious glitches where you’ll hear Sugarland on the country station followed by Korn. Makes me wonder if the rock station is playing Tim McGraw at the same time. Maybe they consider it cross-promotion?
What makes me doubt that these incessant bloopers are unique to their Cleveland cluster?
I’m convinced that if Clear Channel could figure out how to import their entire airstaff via phone lines from Bangalore they would. I just hope I didn’t give them any ideas.