A-glint like a set of Hollywood dentures, the charm flashed from the speaker’s podium at this year’s Radio Academy Festival to hit the receptive retinas of the assembled bosses of Britain's radio industry
At Monday night’s opening in Cambridge, the keynote Guardian Media Group Radio Lecture was given by Lowry Mays, chief executive of Clear Channel Communications – the world’s largest commercial radio operator.
Mays left his audience in little doubt as to his heart’s desire: “Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be able to bring one of the leading UK radio groups into the Clear Channel family,” he schmoozed. “It would benefit from what we know about radio and by association with the other legs of our out-of-home strategy, that is: live entertainment and outdoor [advertising].
But like all great seducers, May adopted a softly-softly approach. “Clear Channel is not a hostile acquirer,” he soothed. “So don't expect to find me camping on your doorstep. When you are ready to create synergy, call us.”
Industry onlookers believe that Clear Channel will be one of the many US predators prowling the UK media jungle if the government succeeds in lifting almost all overseas ownership restrictions on the nation’s broadcast media. Among the prime radio targets – willing or otherwise – are thought to be GWR (owner of Classic FM), Emap and Capital Radio.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff