The joint actually feels haunted. For years, it was the center of the universe for all decisions made for its radio stations. Now it’s a disembodied mess and run by spirits from a distant city.
I’m sorry to report that Randall Mays, the soon-to-be-former CFO of Clear Channel, is boycotting this year’s party after being told by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee that he would have to get their approval before he could wear his Little Lord Fauntleroy costume.
Brother Mark will be coming as Pol Pot, the former Cambodian leader. Pol Pot eliminated hundreds villages in Cambodia and killed tens of thousands. Mark and his family eliminated hundreds of radio stations and altered the lives of tens of thousands.
The managing directors of Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee need no costumes. Their very presence is scary enough. Just ask the banks that invested in the Clear Channel privatization debacle.
The unimaginative John Hogan wears the same costume year after year and this is no exception. He’ll be coming as the abandoned puppy dog, unsure of whom his next master will be.
Unlike Clear Channel, Citadel, CBS Radio and other companies that set up their kills in a manner that you know that they’re coming but not quite sure who the victims will be, Lew just shows up unannounced and says, “Boo! You’re fired!”
His second costume is an Invasion of the Body Snatcher pod. After he fires you, he’ll take over your job and since he's always the Smartest Grim Reaper in the Room, he'll do it better than you.
Here are a couple of highlights.
To cut health care costs at Cumulus, Dickey dumped Human Resources from the task and seized total control of the project.
“It’s handled at human resources. I think that’s a big mistake,” he said. “I could immerse myself in office supplies, and in 15 minutes I could have a knowledge about that.”
The unimaginative Peter Smyth is going to wear horse blinders and rose-tinted sunglasses. That way he won’t be spooked by the realities of increased unemployment, lack of consumer confidence, sucker rallies on Wall Street, and unsold inventory.
Though he wasn’t invited and has no plans to show, Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin will be the most visible person in the room. Like it or not, Wall Street considers Sirius XM a “radio company” and of the top five, his is the only one showing a increase in revenue (+18.6 percent).
By comparison, number one chain, Clear Channel had a -7.4 percent loss; number three, CBS was down -12.2 percent; number four, Citadel was down -9.4 percent, and Cumulus, a -6.9 percent drop.
Now, that’s scary.
Almost forgot. At this party, "Trick or treat" has been replaced by "pay for play."