Clear Channel Part-Sale Irks Investors

24 April 2007

SAN ANTONIO, Texas: Clear Channel's sale last week of 56 TV stations to Providence Equity Partners for $1.2 billion (€882.29m; £598.59m), as well as 161 radio stations to assorted buyers for $331 million [WARC News: 20-Apr-07], has riled a number of its largest shareholders.

They are even less pleased to learn that the broadcasting behemoth plans to use a $1.5bn forward tax allowance (gained when it spun off its entertainment business at a loss in 2005) to pay capital gains taxes due on the latest sales.

Expect fireworks at the shareholders' meeting on May 8.

  • CC Station Swaps Ads With Sponsored Chat
    Meantime, Clear Channel is piloting a new approach to revenue raising which it hopes will boost listening figures by reducing ad clutter.

    Out go the traditional 30-and 60-second ad slots. Instead KZPS , the radio giant's Dallas classic-rock radio station, is interspersing music tracks with sponsorship messages, each lasting no more than fifteen seconds.

    The move is another element in the broadcaster's 'Less Is More' initiative, which also pioneers a more laid-back approach to sponsorship.

    For example, a KZPS presenter might mention a music festival and just happen to add that Southwest Airlines. flies to the town hosting it.

    Or after spinning Stevie Ray Vaughan's hit single Crossfire, the obliging DJ might note the latter's fondness for his Fender Stratocaster and suggest that listeners to stop by Guitar Center to check out the latest models.

    Says Clear Channel market manager J D Freeman: "I think what you're going to see is this moving onto stations around the country."

    Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff