Clear Channel Communications
- Colette Simonot
Media conglomerate based in San Antonio, Texas, which has encompassed radio and television stations, billboard advertising displays, and related products throughout its history. The investment banker Lowry Mays bought his first radio station in 1972, and by 1975 he had acquired several more and left banking to devote himself to his company, Clear Channel Communications. By the mid-1980s, with 16 stations to his name, Mays had developed a reputation for buying unsuccessful stations and making them profitable. The Federal Communications Commission (1992) and the Telecommunications Act (1996) significantly loosened restrictions on radio station ownership, allowing Clear Channel’s continued expansion. After the purchase of Jacor Communications and AMFM in 1999 and 2000, Clear Channel was the largest radio station owner in the United States. In 2008 it was taken over by CC Media Holdings. At its height Clear Channel managed or owned more than 1,200 radio stations and produced syndicated radio content for more than 5,000 stations. Although they carry a variety of programs, most of Clear Channel’s stations are similar in branding and programming. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Clear Channel was a target of criticism by such media reform groups as the Future of Music Coalition. Free speech activists were angered by Clear Channel’s strict censorship policies. In addition, their reluctance to produce local progamming not only reduced local employment opportunities in the media industry, but left smaller market communities with no local representation....