Clear Channel Bloodbath, Imus Back, Internet Radio Down, Amazon’s Kindle Up

In the grand sequence of things, this post was supposed to contain my thoughts on some of the tech and media articles in the December 10 Newsweek. I can’t find the darn thing, and their website buries the articles, so I’ll hold off on that until I find it, or maybe just forget it and move on. So it’s on to other items of media note.

Recently, Clear Channel Communications made another round of cutbacks in what has seemingly become a yearly pre-Christmas ritual. Sixteen radio markets were affected by these cuts. Some longtime employees were let go, meaning their jobs were absorbed by other employees or eliminated. Air shifts were lengthened, voicetracking was implemented, syndicated shows were plugged in, managers are now responsible for more radio stations. At some point, you can cut costs and expand employees’ duties so much before the bubble bursts. Is this the fate of the radio business? Does Clear Channel know something we don’t? Will the bottom fall out in the near future? I own one whole share of stock in CC, left over from my days as an employee, and I would like some answers!

The “I-Man”, Don Imus, has been back on the air for two weeks. I haven’t listened yet. There’s no affiliate in Cincinnati, but Citadel is streaming his show on the ABC Radio Networks site.. He has improved the morning ratings at his flagship station, WABC-770 AM in NYC, but no word on if he has bigger numbers than on his previous stint at WFAN-660 AM. As I predicted, many of his former sponsors stayed away, apparently wanting to distance themselves from him because of the “NHH” remark back in April.

According to Radio and Records, Internet radio listening is down 1.5%. That’s not a significant change. Has the saturation point been reached? It remains to be seen. My guess is, “Affirmative.”

Amazon‘s new Kindle e-book reader has hit the market. Lots of folks (most of them over 40) say that they won’t give up the traditional papyrus reader, but if the Kindle price comes down from its lofty perch of $399, I see it as being a popular tool among business travelers and college students. Why lug a bunch of books around when you can download them to one device?

I will try to squeeze in a few more posts before Christmas. No promises. Not like you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for one, anyway. One of the posts will be about why I would be successful if I managed the programming arm of a large radio corporation.

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