Citadel’s Carbon Footprint

I read in Inside Radio last week that Citadel’s more than 200 stations and offices are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s part of the company’s alliance with the EPA’s Green Power Partnership.

This is very commendable.

It got me to wondering what would happen if Citadel could stay positive and proactive and do a couple of other critical green things that might help stem the footprint of talented employees out the door.

After all, green is great for the environment, but Citadel could also use more green for their shareholders and employees.

So, let’s board Farid Suleman’s Love Train and see what else the company could do to positively impact the Citadel stations, the share price and the incomes of its employees.

1. Renew Paul Harvey

Come-on, this guy is almost 90 years old and he’s still a money machine. ABC has been trying to find his replacement for 25 years. There is no other Paul Harvey. Be green. Take out your wallet and pay the guy! Don’t buy him out of the last year and a half of his contract and push him into the retirement he doesn’t want and blame it on Paul’s health.

2. Buy back employees – not stock

When bad things happen to desperate companies, they – buy back stock. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ultimate bean counter, Farid, initiate a buyback to keep Citadel shares from sinking to below $1. That’s right. $1. If you must do it, don’t buy back stock before you buy back the talent you laid off and the people you are looking to terminate next in the name of fiscal responsibility. And put a few extra bucks aside to give them some tools to do their jobs. You know, a little budget. I’m not suggesting Farid take a pay cut from his $11 million annual salary. He already took a big pay hit from the previous year – from $17 million! You see, Farid feels your pain.

3. Don’t sell off stations

There are also rumors that Citadel may seek the accelerated sale of under-performing assets including not only some of the original Citadel stations but several big ABC stations – perhaps WPLJ, KSFO, The Zone in Chicago and stations in cities as major as Dallas, Boston, Seattle and Atlanta. Rumors, yes. Persistent rumors, you bet. Tell me it ain’t so.

4. No more cutbacks

We’re hearing massive cuts to ABC Radio News in New York and Washington as well as the usual bureau closings that cost-cutters love to target. Maybe even the sale of Satellite Music Network. It always impresses Wall Street to see a cost conscious CEO, but Farid is well into the bone marrow now. Tell me again, why should an investor buy this sliced and diced version of a radio company? I know. It’s a real value at $1.34 a share. No place to go but – oops.

5. Re-sign Sean Hannity

Maybe Hannity is trying to simply increase his market value with options other than ABC. Clear Channel’s Premiere or Fox could steal him away – a fate worse than even lower ratings for their key ABC talkers. Better yet, if I were Sean, I’d contact Randy Michaels at Tribune and put some of his radio recruits to work on something other than newspapers. I’d rather have The Noise You Can’t Ignore working for my syndication .

There you have it.

A great way for a red-faced Citadel CEO to go green.

Spend a little green on someone other than yourself.

By the way, where is the Citadel board of directors in all of this? They are responsible for the continued employment of Farid Suleman. Where is Teddy Forstmann? Shareholders – if I owned Citadel stock (and I don’t own any radio stock), I’d have their heads.

Oh, one more thing.

Seems like Citadel is apparently blocking its employees from reading some commentators (and I won’t mention any names but the one I am thinking about is a Flyers fan) at work.


As President Reagan would say, “Mr. Suleman, tear down this firewall”.

So if you have a friend at Citadel you think might like to read today’s positive piece on five ways to spend some green to build a company that's in the red and might be worth more than – say, $2 a share – then you may need to sneak it to them via email your personal email.

The lesson: Don’t just go green to save the environment.

Spend green -- to save your butts.

That’s how a real radio executive – say a proven winner like Jimmy de Castro or John Gehron – would build a positive future for the company that bought Walt Disney’s radio group.

Except that Farid turns out to be Goofy and everything he seems to be doing points to running a Mickey Mouse operation. What a waste of great talent.

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