WHO OWNS THE RADIO? [from Rock & Rap Confidential/1999]....The archetype of broadcast corporate interests is Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, the gargantuan holding company that now owns 463 radio stations in 105 U.S. markets. HMT&F has also bought a controlling interest in Grupo Radio Central, Mexico's largest radio conglomerate, and has set aside more than $3 billion to invest in England and Europe. This will allow them to sell advertising on a global scale.
U.S. radio ad revenues, fueled by the consolidation resulting from the sale of 4,400 radio stations in the past two years, are up 14% from last year. CBS Radio president Dan Mason explained to Radio & Records that "for every position eliminated in programming this year, there will be three added in sales." Mason predicted that current average of 12 commercials per hour may soon jump to over 15 per hour.
Beth Clements, morning drive co-host for Citadel Broadcasting's KKFM/Colorado Springs outlet, found out what happens when you threaten those ad dollars. Clements criticized Taco Bell's policy of charging extra for beans-for-beef substitutions as unfair to vegetarians and Taco Bell threatened to pull its ads. Clements was fired.
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