Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Press The Applause Button

With the exception of scores-and-scores of hard-working men and woman being unemployed, it is, oh so rich, irony that as the Right Wing, Flag Waving Clear Channel is collapsing, and they are stuck with "The Cheeseburger That Sweats" (h/t Barry Crimmins).

This is the company that issued a Post-Sept 11th, jingoistic play list to it's empire, and then led the ban against the free speech of The Dixie Chicks, with their "Rally for America".

Eric Boehlert, over on MediaMatters, has a delicious tale of it all today;

Limbaugh's living large while radio boss Clear Channel implodes

Clear Channel's fall from business grace remains epic in its proportions. In 10 years time the company has gone from dominating a flourishing radio industry to a corporation that now teeters on the brink. (Clear Channel stock traded for $90 a share in 2000. When the radio company went private last year, pre-crash, the stock was already down in the $30s.) Lots of over-extended, debt-ridden media conglomerates are struggling through today's deep economic recession, but few face a future quite as perilous as the one staring back at the San Antonio radio giant.

And yet Clear Channel's most famous employee, Rush Limbaugh, remains oblivious to it all. I sometimes wonder what Limbaugh thinks when he reads about the not-so-slow-motion collapse of his radio employer while lounging in his 24,000-square-foot Florida estate or motoring in his $450,000 car to the airport to ride in his $54 million jet. Does Limbaugh feel bad? Does he feel a little guilty? And does he ever think about giving some of his riches back so that thousands of radio colleagues wouldn't have to be bounced to the curb?


Because here's the real oddity about Clear Channel's pact with Limbaugh: Last summer there was nobody else in a position to steal Limbaugh away. Clear Channel was basically bidding against itself and decided, in the end, to give Limbaugh a 40 percent raise, which included writing a $100 million signing bonus check to celebrate his contract extension. That right: A nine-figure signing bonus. At the time, it was a puzzler. Looking back at it today, the $100 million goodwill gesture, viewed against the backdrop of Clear Channel's doomsday woes, makes no business sense whatsoever. (That $100 million bonus could have saved maybe 1,000 Clear Channel jobs this year alone.)
Ah, yes, ....

Clear Channel, struggling for it's corporate life, only to pay off The Cheeseburger That Sweats.

Somebody, before they leave the studio, press the "Applause" button ...

Bonus Clear Channel Highlights


MediaMatters: Clear Channel radio host railed against Nick Berg's father, called him a "scumbag"

Paul Krugman: Channels of Influence

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