FaGREED Suleman -- Citadel's $1.75 CEO

Look, this is getting ridiculous.

It's insulting.

Citadel CEO Farid Suleman made over $11 million in 2007 -- and that's without his usual bonus. Oh, and his pay is down from almost $18 million the previous year -- if that makes you feel any better.

I don't.

Didn't this guy put a lot of people out of work at Citadel when the last devastating quarterly results came out?

Didn't he save his neck and reap the rewards while vowing publicly to get a grip on expenses -- spoken like the true bean counter he is.

Good people. Fired.

Didn't this guy's stations -- you know in tiny markets like San Francisco and New York -- start taking seedy infomercials (as if there are any other kind) to pay a few bills? Obviously, they had to save up for Farid's annual compensation.

Didn't he hire Don Imus -- the coldest air talent in the business -- for millions?

Well, if you want to know what's really wrong with the radio business, let me direct you to the top (again).

One way or the other, the deck is stacked for Farid and all his buddies who run consolidated radio. No wonder under performing is so, well --- rewarding.

Look at this creative accounting.

Farid's salary is a relatively modest $1.25 million, but by the time you add in over $9 million for "other compensation" (cute, right?) that includes -- according to an analysis by Tom Taylor in Radio-Info, $7.8 million in dividends on restricted stock and about $2 million that the company used to -- get this -- pay Farid's taxes!

Pretty nice deal for the top decision-maker in a company that is only earning its stockholders about $1.75 a share -- down from a still skimpy $10 a year ago.

Warren Buffet he's not.

If you want happy talk about radio's future, you're not going to get it on this topic.

This is lunacy.

It would be one thing if Suleman was growing his company -- gainfully employing his talented people, making money for the investors who are lending him the money to run his radio company.

But $1.75 a share!


This is where the radio industry cannot succeed.

It's bad enough that the next generation of listeners has moved on to portable devices, the Internet and cell phones. They did this while radio was consolidating.

It's bad enough that the next generation represents as many people as the baby boomers.

Radio can't come back and try to find ways to engage this critical, must-have audience if it is cutting key people, firing highly rated talent, syndicating itself into cost savings at the expense of audience.

And Farid Suleman is not alone. There are other greedy CEOs in radio.

Clear Channel has ravaged its talent pool -- in progressive steps over the years -- with the most recent cutbacks at Christmas -- all to get its company fattened up for market.

Even in the fairy tale The Three Little Pigs, you heard the warning "The three little pigs grew so big that their mother said to them, 'You are too big to live here any longer. You must go and build houses for yourselves. But take care that the wolf does not catch you."

But who is going to be the wolf?

CBS cleaned out hundreds of people. I saw the Phoenix ratings the other day for KOOL-FM -- the station that fired its long-time, highly rated morning personality Bill Gardner to save money. How's a 3.5 12+ sound for December through February (down from a 4.1 in November, December and January)? The 3.5 still has Gardner's show factored in meaning it will get worse for KOOL-FM next month.

It's not worth firing your top morning guy and others to save money to be staring at significant ratings declines. You know, the kind account executives can't sell for the price KOOL-FM needs to get.

Even if the radio industry ended excessive executive compensation and instead invested to bolster its content, it would still have an uphill battle without the next generation augmenting their mainstay aging baby boomers.

The way it is now, the big consolidators are not only getting away with murder.

They're committing corporate suicide.

(Sorry for the outrage. I'll start off next week with some positive ideas from the next generation for radio operators who care about programming to them).

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