Another radio story: this one about Clear Channel's attempt to masquerade as a pirate radio station.
I wonder what it takes to get people to think in these terms? Is it a brazen realization? ("Hmmm. At long last, I guess I really don't have any sense of decency!") Or is it total and complete denial?
Anyway, I copy the article here because of the New York Times' registration policy:
Clear Channel in a Stealth Promotional Campaign
By ROBERT LEVINE
Published: May 30, 2005
To the average listener, Radio Free Ohio has all the earmarks of pirate radio. For weeks, it sounded as if amateurs had been bleeding their voices into the broadcasts of stations in Akron, Ohio, owned by Clear Channel, the corporate radio giant. At the Web site www.radiofreeohio.com, there was a manifesto about "corporate-controlled music playlists" that took potshots at several local Clear Channel stations. But there was no information about who had posted the screed, or what exactly Radio Free Ohio was.
But last week it came out that Radio Free Ohio was not a prank on Clear Channel but in fact a prank by Clear Channel. Tomorrow, an AM station the company owns in Akron will switch formats from sports talk to progressive talk, and Clear Channel would very much like anyone suspicious of corporate media to tune in.
"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.
That Clear Channel owned the www.radiofreeohioorg Web site was revealed on www.stayfreemagazine.org, a magazine and blog about advertising and popular culture. Stay Free's editor, Carrie McLaren, said that she had learned the information from someone who had seen it on an Akron Web site. "In a way it's the heart of the problem with Clear Channel," Ms. McLaren said of the manifesto. " 'We're this huge corporation and we do everything to fake being local.' "
Naturally, Clear Channel disagrees. "Clear Channel, as I see it, is dedicated to entertaining radio and to getting results for our advertisers," Mr. Lankford said, noting that the company owns both conservative and progressive talk radio stations. "There's a hole in the market here and we're going to fill it."