Clear Channel Firings Just Keep On Comin'

Most of the trades have reported the latest, poorly-handled firings at Clear Channel.

I say the latest because, in my opinion, Clear Channel has been squandering its outstanding talent since way back when it was putting together its 1,1o0 station group.

So, a week or so ago the very capable and well-liked Minneapolis exec Mick Anselmo was fired while on a fishing vacation with a heavy-hitter advertiser -- not easily reachable. So imagine Anselmo's shock to be summoned for an emergency call to hear that he was relieved of his duties.

These Clear Channel honchos I'm sure have an excuse for firing a man without telling him first, but I can't imagine that it is a good reason.

I've gotten into a lot of trouble with these folks over the years for criticizing the way they run a radio group. Still, they somehow don't get it.

They put together a group of outstanding properties with some of the best talent in the industry. For whatever reasons -- perhaps economy, conflicts, political -- these managers are getting away.

A sample not-all-inclusive list: Randy Michaels (say what you want, but he put the group together and he was sent to "Siberia" for years while employed by Clear C hannel). Andy Rosen. Jay Meyers. John Gehron. Mike Glickenhaus. Roy Laughlin. Bill Richards. Dave Ross. Ken Spitzer. Jack Evans. And don't forget Kraig Kitchen (a departure that I predict will bite them in the butt at Premiere Radio Networks).

But not to worry.

They still have John Hogan.

It's only fair to point out that Clear Channel isn't the only major radio group to disregard and dismiss talent. It is the largest operator and therefore has more opportunities. They've had a tough way of letting some people go over the years buit I've also heard of generous exit packages.

One thing is true. The consolidators tend to cut their talent loose -- or lose them to other companies -- more so than the smaller companies and the privately owned firms. We all don't have to be geniuses to understand this aspect of employment, either.

What's sad is what's likely to happen when Clear Channel goes private. I think you're going to see more economies of scale. Hey, you might even see John Hogan running a division of stations.

My point is that companies that have a future usually hire people rather than fire or retire them.

Look at growth companies.

Apple continues to grow by making investments in the best talent.

Same for Google. And believe me young people want to work for Google.

Once you see a company start to shore up profits by cutting down expenses, the company is telling me that they can't continue to do it any other way.

And once you let your top talent get away, it's a caution sign that this business is not going to be in the growth mode.

That's why outside venture capitalists who buy up companies, cut them down, sell off parts (I call it slice and dice) and make money when they flip it again.

That's what I think Clear Channel has in mind when it goes private. More pruning. More economies of scale. More sales of "unnecessary' assets and another play somewhere down the line.

This is no way to run a growth business unless you're the private individual who profits from the sale of assets.

No way to run a business in the process of losing their next generation distracted by the Internet and mobile devices.

No way to grow.

It's not programming that's killing radio.

It's not the Internet that's killing radio.

Poor management is killing radio -- and you won't have to look very far in the days ahead to see more examples of it.

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