Clear Channel hedging its bets?


Among the biggest political donors in the broadcast world for the 2008 election cycle is Clear Channel. Some will be surprised at where the radio/outdoor giant’s cash is headed, though. It has often been decried for providing a mouthpiece for the right wing (it does provide a corporate home for iconic rightie Rush Limbaugh) and was incorrectly branded as a Dixie Chick banner.

But it is actually spending more of its direct-to-the-candidate campaign cash on Democrats this cycle. Out of 178.5K donated, 100.5K has gone to Democrats against 78K for Republicans.

Actually, its donation pattern would indicate that it is in favor of legislative gridlock. According to, it’s supporting Democrats over Republicans for the House of Representatives by very nearly a two-to-one margin, 70K to 37K. But on the Senate side, it’s boosting Republicans over Democrats 41K to 30.5K.

Overall, Clear Channel’s political action committee has distributed 357.7K, meaning that half of its donations have been to other PACs. We don’t know how the split has broken down there, but that money is clearly going in both directions as well. All four of the Capitol Hill campaign funds (DCCC, DSCC, NRCC, NRSC) received a nice bankable note from Clear Channel. There is still 201.6K stored in the CCU PAC warchest.

RBR/TVBR observation: All of which goes to show that politics are much like formatics in the broadcast corporate world. You may love bebop, but unless you can convince a 4-share of the population to also love bebop and the products and services that run their ads on your bebop station, you’d better find something else to play. And you may love Republicans, but if have something you need up on Capitol Hill and all you see are Democrats, or vice versa, things will go much more smoothly if the faces you see have reason to smile before they hear your pitch. Add to that the rampant tendency of communications issues to blur party lines and it becomes obvious that friends are needed on both sides of the aisle.