Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Clear Channel takes over Disney

From Heckman Memorial News Service
by Business News Staff
December 6, 2020
Clear Channel Entertainment announced today another round of pre-Christmas lay offs. Clear Channel, owned by Lee and Bain with notes due in 2021 of 291 billion dollars hope this round of layoffs will help the media giant once again avoid default. The total number of lay offs wasn't announced but sources say the theme park division was hit particularly hard.
The company once hailed by Forbes magazine as a "model of efficiency" after the purchase of Cumulus, Town Square Media and other broadcast groups by operating 3,210 radios stations
with a staff of 112 has seen radio revenues in steep decline for several years. As one former radio insider said, "When you are trying to sell Ryan Seacrest on 9 stations in the same market,
I'm not surprised."
Clear Channel avoided default in 2016 when they rolled their radio debt into the purchase of Disney. Since then, they have slashed budgets in all their divisions and added additional
duties to current staffers. Seacrest, in addition to his morning shows on 3210 radio stations is also hosting corporate groups at Clear Channel owned resort hotels at the company's theme parks.Seacrest along with syndicated talk host Rush Limbaugh are contracted to broadcast next season's Monday Night Football games with Mylie Cyrus doing sideline reporting. Clear Channel President Bob Pittman told bond holders in a conference call, "it allows us to extend our brand across multiple media platforms and showcase our magnificent talent." MNF will no longer have a half time show with the dismissal of long time host Chris Berman. The ESPN veteran will be replaced at half time with a panel of 4 fans, 2 from each competing team. Pittman remarked, "we are giving the game back to the fans and we feel it will expand the Clear Channel brand."
Limbaugh in addition to his daily talk show and his MNF duties will also be hosting an updated version of "Dating Game" and is slated to debut a yet unnamed Reality Show in development at
the new Clear Channel studios at the failed "Great Park" site in Orange County. The studio is housed in former Marine Aviation hangers. Clear Channel's network production staff of 4 will be housed in former enlisted Marine barracks. Pittman noted "Clear Channel is the only entertainment brand in the world offering employees free housing."
Pittman said ESPN Radio's radical sports format of using only calls from listeners without the interference of hosts is going well, he added, "ratings are down, but the savings we achieved by
eliminating expensive hosts and handing the stations directly to the listeners and callers has worked well and we believe is a model for the future of terrestial radio." Pittman hinted that "fan hosts"
may be used on ESPN's cable shows as "another way to expand our brand."
Pittman also said in the conference call, the company, in addition to cuts in the broadcast division that additional cuts are pending at the theme parks, "our early attempts of total automation
were flawed, the bugs have been worked out and we will be moving ahead as soon as the equipment is delivered from our manufacturing plants in Bangladesh. Our goal of an American family
being able to visit our parks without any human contact other than with our other guests is going to be a reality and will revolutionize the destination park and resort business and allow us to
extend our brand across additional platforms."
In a surprise announcement Pittman said, "Clear Channel Entertainment has purchased the hotel and casino operations of Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas and Macao for 9 billion dollars,
the purchase will be financed as Pittman said, "By our partners, the Chinese ruling council and the Adelson Family Trust and will allow us to extend our brand across, not only new platforms
but help us make Clear Channel Entertainment a truly worlld wide brand." He added a "I Heart Gambling" promotion is in the works and the casinos will be promoted across "all of our platforms."
Towards the end of the call, Pittman was asked about the ongoing lawsuit by 57 families whose children were trapped for 21 hours on the newly automated "It's a Small World" ride at the
company's Anaheim theme park. Pittman responded, "The case is in litigation, I can't discuss it." Pittman also waved off questions about Clear Channel's 500.5 million dollar purchase of
two Boeing 777 Dreamliners, one said to be for Pittman's personal use, the other planned for "High Rollers" at the company's new casino division.

In other business news today,  Lee and Bain announced year end bonus packages totaling 35 million dollars. The packages will be distributed to 21 Lee and Bain executives.

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