Alec Foege says he thought Clear Channel was getting a bum rap from the media when he began writing a book on the company. But as he gathered information, he came to believe Clear Channel has earned its reputation. It probably didn’t help that prominent members of the Mays family declined to offer Foege evidence to the contrary.
New York Times scribe Jacques Steinberg reviewed "Right of the Dial" The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio," a 294-page offering from Faber & Faber (25 bucks will get you your own copy), and found a comprehensive history of the company going all the way back to its "dusty beginnings in Texas in 1972," all the way up to the competitive challenges of the brand-new 21st Century.
Foege describes the tenor of the book in his preface, according to NYT. "I was not out to do a hatchet job," he wrote. But after spending "…a lot of time talking to some of the company’s most prominent critics, as well as some of its most devout supporters, I have concluded that Clear Channel is indeed to blame for much of what it has been accused of."
The company’s voice-tracking practices are chronicled, as is its Wall Street journey from 90 dollars/share in 2000 to 27 dollars in August 2006.
Coming soon: a Clear Channel-commissioned history from veteran trade reporter Reed Bunzel, which figures to take a more sympathetic viewpoint of the company.
RBR/TVBR observation: Of course, it will be impossible for objective readers who acquire both books to give them equal weight when it comes to reliability.