Spreading Radio's Wealth

Barack Obama is being slammed by John McCain and Fox News Channel for wanting to take from the very rich and give to the poor -- or spreading the wealth.

He denies it.

I kind of like it -- and remember I'm talking as a guy with Clear Channel's money.

I like this idea of spreading the wealth for the radio industry.

So I'd like to run for President of Radio's Conscience. Here is my platform for spreading the wealth. Warning: you have entered a "no win" zone. You may like these ideas or you may not but the only place you can even entertain them is in the fantasy of your own mind.

Having said that, here is my platform:

Spread the Wealth

$11 million last year and all his taxes paid by Citadel. God, you'd think Farid Suleman was Jack Welch. The previous year Farid must have been Warren Buffett. That's when he made $14 million and you know the routine about paying his taxes. So, if you vote for me as your conscience, I will strip Farid of his $11 million and spread the wealth to the Citadel workers that he has fired in the past 12 months and the ones he's going to fire before Christmas.

After all, it was his "management" that helped causes the stock price to tank and revenues to fail.

Oh, and by the way, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey was supposedly paid seven or eight million dollars as an incentive for signing a new contract.

What's that all about

He needed a multi-million dollar incentive to be brought back to a company he guided to $1 a share! Just threaten to fire him and don't worry -- he'll take a pay cut.

That brings me to the boards of directors in radio that rubber stamp CEOs with sweet deals while they crap all over their shareholders. If I'm elected your conscience, I will appoint a bipartisan blue ribbon panel to get to the bottom of this (and that's a great choice of words for an industry that has hit rock bottom).

I'm in favor of tying executive pay to performance -- stock price worth nothing, get paid nothing. Make the shareholders money and gainfully employee your talent and you get bigger rewards. This may not be capitalism but who cares.

End Illegal Immigration

This would prevent Mel Karmazin from crossing the border from satellite radio when his Sirius XM contract is up to return to terrestrial radio. We have enough budget cutters running radio into the ground.

A vote for me would require Mel to finish the job he left terrestrial radio for -- no matter how many decades it takes. Then he would have to wait three years before he is readmitted into terrestrial radio.

Social Insecurity

I have no choice but to embrace the welfare state because so many radio people have been sent to the unemployment line in the past year. Yesterday CBS reported that they saved $23 million this year by cutting jobs --- 290 in the third quarter alone and 480 jobs since the beginning of the year.

And I'm not picking on CBS. Citadel is a leader in something even if it isn't revenue, ratings or share price -- firings. Entercom, Cox and Cumulus have been wielding the knife lately. Tom Taylor reports CBS struck again in Pittsburgh just this past week when he wrote “it was a PD, a promotion director, two sales managers and an administrative assistant – spread all around the cluster.”

Don't let Clear Channel get off the hook -- remember the staff reductions they imposed before the Lee & Bain deal went down. Now, they are offering some people multi-year contracts but there are a few catches if you believe what is going on at Critical Mass Media. Clear Channel can fire you anytime during their new "long-term" contract (I'm not making this up -- I wish I were) and -- oh, one small detail -- if you're offered a contract and don't take it, you can be fired. It's radio's version of Social Insecurity.

Vote for me as your conscience and I'll see to it that radio groups contract with their employees for periods of at least one year with fair wages and reasonable security so they can take care of their families.

Universal Health Care

In radio, a company CEO can get the best health care coverage on a par with that of members of Congress. Their employees -- some of whom have cancer and other diseases -- can't get treatment. Now I know that Ryan Seacrest is getting good health care benefits because, God forbid if anything prevented him from doing his show, Clear Channel might have to pay 100 salaries again.

Every radio company that could make you sick just by working for them should pay 100% of your health care.

Joe The Plumber

A vote for me will in effect ban the use of the term Joe the Plumber from every U.S. radio station unless it is for an issue of overriding importance -- like the toilet backing up.

I once worked at WPEN in Philadelphia for a brief spell and the roof leaked one foot away from me while I was on-the-air. It rains a lot in Philly -- didn't you see the World Series? I would put a trash can down and the rain would make a loud noise as it dripped into the can over my right shoulder. Sounded like torture (no, not my show -- the rain dropping into the trash can). When I took a bathroom break, the urinal didn't work. We could have used a plumber to fix both the leaks and the shitty ratings.

That's my position -- plumbers go back to plumbing -- if I'm elected your conscience.

A Heartbeat Away from the Presidency

Outside of Judy Ellis taking over for Farid Suleman, God forbid something happens, most radio groups don't have a line of succession.

This is a good thing.

Do you really want a number two who was trained by the number one who ran the company into the ground?

Vote for me and I'll mandate that no radio group can elevate its biggest suck up to take over should the CEO become incapacitated. By incapacitated I mean sick or jailed. My platform would look to the best general manager in the radio group and take her or him by private jet to headquarters in the event the CEO can't perform their duties.

Oh hell, we already know the CEO can't perform his duties -- just have a bloodless coup and get the best manager in there to run the group.

I'll Raise Your Taxes

That's because every time you vote for someone who says they'll lower your taxes, you still get screwed. I figure you're about ready to figure that one out. I will not be able to do much with Congress if I am elected Radio's Conscience, but I can implement what I'd like to call the Farid-Del Colliano Act. As long as boards of directors automatically pay their CEOs income taxes, they must also pay the income taxes of everyone else in the company.

This is communism at its best, but you'll have to agree it would be a hoot to see.


Any radio company whose stock drops to below $1 a share will be considered an abortion and the person performing that abortion will be aborted from his or her CEO job.

Can I make my position on this any clearer?
No waffling or flip-flopping here.


I want to be your Education President.

So I am proposing that instead of firing sales people in the midst of declining advertising, radio stations be given an incentive to not only hire more salespeople but educate them to become even better sellers.

Because most voters usually respond positively to patriotic and socially correct slogans I will call this -- "No AE Left Behind". And for those wise asses out there -- I know what you're thinking. How can you tell an AE's left behind from their right behind. Shame on you.

The fundamental difference between me and your radio CEOs is that I will actually give incentives for hiring new salespeople and let them keep their accounts, give them fair rates to sell and help them succeed by educating them on a regular basis.

The War on Terror

I'll end the war on terror by replacing radio CEOs who continue to terrorize their employees by trying to be managers, accountants, programmers and marketing geniuses. I even have a timetable for their withdrawal from the front lines -- yesterday.

And, I will not send them to Guantanamo.

Bring Unemployment to Under 1%

Give incentives to radio CEOs and group executives to maintain full employment. If they don't, they get to be the 1% unemployed while the more essential people running their business (everybody else) stay employed. This is also called "Reverse Unemployment".

So that's where I stand on the issues.

I ask for your vote as President of Radio's Conscience.

I think I can carry New Jersey, Arizona and California -- the question is, how will these policies play in the heartland and the deep south (defined as any region below South Philadelphia).

And, of course, I can't promise that your vote will count in Ohio and Florida. But you knew that already.

We've been having a little fun here because if you don't laugh, you'll cry. Things have been pretty tough in radio the past few years -- having to sit by and watch its decline. More firings are on the way and the industry badly needs an influx of leaders who see the future.

Get it?

That's right.

The ones who know terrestrial radio has less than ten years. That the greatest content talent in the world wants to invent the next Pandora or Facebook or YouTube. It could be a radio initiative.

Not the ones who are content with business as usual -- cut, snip, fire -- and watch their companies erode.

At least in the general presidential election, America gets to vote for the person they want to lead them out of our country's problems when they go to the polls next Tuesday.

We have only fantasy -- and hope that defines the character of all the people working for the mismanagers in radio who seem content to let a good business miss out on the digital future.

As they say in Chicago, vote early and often.

But keep in mind that in radio your fate will always be ultimately decided by Radio's Supreme Court -- the boards of directors who keep returning incompetents to power at a time of great change.

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