Clear Channel Radio CEO and Crypt Kicker John Hogan is for those of us who want to reform radio what Sarah Palin was to Saturday Night Live. We have assurance that there’ll never be a shortage of material coming from his San Antonio compound.
How about his tasteless, mindless “Get A Job” promotion (or is that one being written off as, ahem, public service), where twenty-one participating Clear Channel stations will offer the unemployed a “chance” (his word) to nominate themselves for one of five weekly on-air slots? The "winning" jobseekers will get thirty seconds of fame to pitch for work on the stations. Sick.
The press release is here. In it, Hogan quoted recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but declined to mention the thousands of Clear Channel employees he selected to be added to the ranks of the unemployed.
I haven’t heard the promo on the air yet. My guess is that it’ll include a disclaimer that reads: “Former Clear Channel employees are not eligible.”
Did you hear the new one about John Hogan? Remember when he announced an “impressive new level of commitment to local community affairs that will define a new, higher ‘minimum level of service’ for all markets,” and added, “We believe when radio focuses on serving local communities, it is radio at its finest?”
No, that wasn’t a punch line.
“Clear Channel Radio has long led the industry in both the quantity and breadth of community-service programs at the local, regional and national levels.”
That wasn’t either – but it should’ve been.
Actually, none of it was intended to be a joke. It’s from an authentic April 15 press release issued by Clear Channel, which announced their - get this - nationally-driven commitment to localism.
Their pledge for change resulted in more firings and fewer local programming hours.
The last time I checked most Clear Channel stations are still running the same identical public affairs program at the same time.
Here’s more Hogan: “We are materially increasing our commitment to community programming, increasing our accountability, and broadening our public-service contributions in every local market we serve.”
Question, Hogie. Isn’t every market you serve local? Just asking.
Finally. Forty-four days after these commitments were made and ignoring the possibility that Clear Channel could be bankrupt within a couple of months, Hogan announced the appointment of two managers that will lead the company’s new initiatives, how ever ephemeral they may be.
Meet 36-year old Senior VP of Programming Darren Davis. He’s assuming the newly created post of Senior VP of Premium Choice.
I hope it’s a position they plan to keep around for awhile. You don’t want to go down in the record books as the John Paul I of Clear Channel.
His job is not to change the litter box but to “…improve program quality for all dayparts.”
Translation: Replace local talent with voice tracking. In Clear Channel-speak the word improve is defined as eliminating a salary.
He’ll also oversee the quality control of localism pronunciation. An outside-the-market voice tracker for their Kiss station in Boston will be taught that the suburban city of Quincy is pronounced Quin-zee – not Quin-see as in Quincy Jones and that you don’t pronounce Worcester as Wor-chester.
Let’s get to know Hogie’s second appointment of the day - Clay Hunnicut. He’s Senior VP of Programming for Clear Channel’s “East Major” region (don’t ask me where or what it is) and will take on additional duties as – Hogan loves slogans and titles – Community Engagement Director. The job title sounds like something that would put a stain on a career.
At Clear Channel, there’s no such thing as wearing too many hats until you tip over.
Though Hogie wasn’t specific about Hunnicut’s job definition, we have to assume that it has something to do with making sure those twelve promised PSAs-a-day run between 6 PM and 6 AM.
Should a group of close friends have an intervention with Hogie? At least tell him that no one is buying this crap?
If you wore glasses that made you look cross-eyed, wouldn’t you want to know?
You may ask how can Clear Channel pull off live-and-local – and do personal appearances - when most of their dayparts and just about all of their weekend hours are voice-tracked or syndicated?
Let me introduce you to the new Clear Channel National DJ Replicator. It’s brought to you by the same people that gave you other Clear Channel innovative programming breakthroughs like Premium Choice, Less is More, and the Format Lab.
Now, every market can have their own Ryan Seacrest and Elvis Duran. Or Steve Harvey and Kid Kraddack. Maybe you prefer Big Rig, Doc Reno or John “the B-Man” Beaulieu.
The Clear Channel in-person voice-tracking National DJ Replicator is a lifesize, full color cardboard stand-up of your favorite Premium Choice Clear Channel voice-tracked personalities. They come complete with movable arms and legs and a place for a local intern insert his or her lips to lip sync to pre-recorded introductions.
For example, the Ryan Seacrest Replicator comes complete with a customized voice track: “(station) thanks you for coming to our (name) event today. I’m Ryan Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest-dot-com.”
The National DJ Replicator allows you to create personal appearances with your designated Premium Choice DJs.
Don’t laugh. I fear that I just gave Hogie an idea.
I was going to suggest that Hogie consider taking Clear Channel’s radio division non-profit – until I realized that it already is.