Radio Free Ohio: Clear Channel Attacks Themselves

As part of a promotion for a new progressive talk station in Akron, Ohio, Clear Channel has embarked on an unconventional advertising campaign to woo the wild liberals from their sanctuary.

At the Web site for Radio Free Ohio (since replaced by just a logo), they posted a manifesto that railed against corporate-controlled music playlists and merrily lambasted several other local Clear Channel stations. They failed, however to identify themselves as the folks behind Radio Free Ohio. Here’s a piece of their screed:

Radio in Ohio sucks. We know, we’ve listened….gone are the days of multiple viewpoints and opinions. Instead we get corporate mandated opinions from talking heads, corporate controlled music playlists, and so on.

A clear Channel VP shamelessly admits to this campaign of self-flagellation:

“Once we determined we were going to change the format, we tried to get into the mindset of people who would listen to this new station,” said Dan Lankford, vice president and market manager for Clear Channel in Akron. That mindset may involve a suspicion of Clear Channel itself, which has used loosened rules on media ownership to build a radio empire.

Clear Channel’s marketing geniouses are clearly channeling the firm’s well-deserved reputation as a megalithic corporate abuser of the public’s interest in an effort to expand its monopoly ever further. This is kind of like McDonalds opening up a health food restaurant and imploring people not to poison themselves on the crap at those golden-arched fast-food joints.

I suppose I can’t complain about Clear Channel broadening the ideological scope of its stations (actually, I can, but that’s for another rant), but the idea of them characterizing themselves as anti-corporate crusaders for free thought, media diversity and local access, is way beyond the pale. When they lobby to reverse the trends in consolidation, station ownership, vertical integration, and local origination, I’ll be happy to revisit their status as rebels. Until then, the sheep masks on those wolves aren’t fooling anyone.


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