Beware: Clear Channel Is Hiring

Don't fall off your chair -- Clear Channel is hiring again just as its president, John Slogan Hogan promised.

You see, 1,850 firings were nothing even though we're told there are more mass firings on the way. Some Clear Channel people refer to that eventuality as "round two" and "round three".

Nonetheless, forget all of that -- let's look at how a private equity firm that runs the largest radio group can transform the business.

Now, after all those firings, Clear Channel is looking for a few good "revenue managers" and "yield managers".

Doesn't that sound better than general sales manager or GSM?

So what's a revenue manager, you ask?

According to the job posting sent to me by that growing legion of Repeater Reporters (named after Clear Channel's new Repeater Radio concept), it's quite a nebulous job.

Here's the description (note the exclamation mark which they added, not me).

We’re currently looking for Revenue Managers!

This individual must possess strong analytical skills and an ability
to collaborate with the Sales Management team to maximize revenue through developing and executing optimal pricing and inventory strategies for the cluster. Successful applicants are strong communicators, demonstrate an ability to think strategically, and possess unquestionable professionalism and integrity. If you are highly motivated, view obstacles as opportunities, and consistently strive to win, you could be one of our next Revenue Managers.

Sick yet?

Are you wondering whether they might already have these people working for them right now? Or may have previously fired them?

Think they might be called -- sales managers?

According to a source inside Clear Channel "The Revenue Manager will deal with inventory and pricing concerns on the local level, reporting to a Regional Yield Manager; the General Sales Manager (GSM) will no longer deal with those concerns going forward. With the changes, there will probably be more GSM positions eliminated, and maybe even Director of Sales at some point".

You already know the drill.

Fire ten, hire one -- do the math.

Now you're probably wondering what a regional Yield Manager is. You're going to be sorry you asked.

They assist stations in the development and execution of strategies to maximize revenue by suggesting inventory adjustments, and demand-generating activities.

Are you getting the feeling Slogan Hogan did not think of this job description? Coming up with "Less Is More" and "Best is More" was so much more in his skill sets.

Look at this "make-work" job description:

Analyze historical information and current pacing to determine optimal price for each
daypart and station. Evaluate inventory to determine the optimal mix of commercials for each station (by week and by daypart).

I'm not making this up. These are exact quotes from the job description.

Compare and track current to prior year account and category information for attrition or growth.

They're kidding, right?

You need a regional Yield Manager for this?

Collaborate with Sales Management team continually to obtain information on pricing trends, market
conditions, and client demand to assist them in making appropriate pricing, inventory, and forecasting decisions.

Are we talking about radio here?

May work with the Traffic Department to assure clock adjustments are implemented correctly and in a timely manner. Assume interim station pricing as necessary. Analyze station and market activity for trends and report to upper management.

So Clear Channel is hiring?

No, it looks like Lee & Bain, their private equity partners, are tinkering. Trying real hard to make their multi-billion dollar fiasco look like a business that they actually know. Because, as you realize, Lee & Bain bought a pig in a poke -- with all due respect to pigs.

So let's review and see if old radio hands (1 year of experience to 45 years) can pass the Lee & Bain Private Equity Test:

1. Fire thousands of people and cut $400 million in annual expenses.

2. Keep paying Rush Limbaugh the $400 million it took to re-sign him in a multi-year deal. After all, Rush is like Ryan Seacrest but better. And one Rush is better than 1,850 people recently let go. Got that?

3. Then hire two new critical -- regional -- positions that might as well have job descriptions written in Latin. Because they are regional, you get to fire more people before you decide on the very small handful of candidates that can actually understand what they are being hired to do.

4. Ignore your best sales managers and salespeople -- because you can always fire them later if you haven't canned them already -- even though they can probably give you the information you are hiring a Revenue Manager or Yield Manager to do. Doesn't that make sense?

5. Lock John Slogan Hogan in his office and keep him away from the private equity way of doing things. Have him work on another new slogan -- give him another 12 months, he'll come up with one. Like "Les is Moonves" or something like that.

6. Completely ignore what it would take to increase sales in local markets by continuing to ignore local markets.

If you already knew all of that, you get an A for this Private Equity Case Studies Test.

Now, on to your essay question:

"Assuming that nationally syndicated Repeater Radio will fail, name one option that saves Lee & Bain's $17.9 billion purchase price for Clear Channel".

All those who concede that nothing will save their bacon, go to the head of the class.

To all others, you may want to apply for two new positions at Clear Channel -- regional Revenue Manager and regional Yield Manager.

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