by Frank Lewis
A week after Clear Channel Communications gave the axe to Cleveland veterans Brian & Joe, the radio leviathan has outsourced the Mix 106.5 FM morning show. Monday morning marked return of the syndicated Valentine in the Morning Show. Beaming across the country from Los Angeles, Valentine — formerly heard on CC sister station 96.5 Kiss FM — mixes tame radio hits with the celebrity-beat/Hollywood-insider thing, aiming for the American Idol demographic. The vanilla program seems like good fit for the station’s Hot Adult Contemporary format, which is radio code for “Top 40, no rap.”
The Clear Channel program director didn’t return calls; all Clear Channel personnel are prohibited from addressing anything that might be perceived as a negative. The station does seem aware it’s a potentially touchy issue: The press release bearing the news ends with a note that Mix 106.5 is still home to Cleveland’s Daune Robinson and Jay Hudson.
As the Gorman Media Blog calculates, in the last 110 days, Clear Channel has eliminated 2,440 jobs from the approximately 900 stations it owns. Local talent is a thorny issue. The corporate office recently gave programming executives the choice to hire more homegrown talent for locally masterminded programming. Many that opted for “live and local” approach are no longer with the company. Ironically, so are many that chose for the canned programming.
“I think Clear Channel PDs were screwed both ways,” says Gorman. “If they opted to go live, they were fired for wasting money. If they opted to go automated/voice-tracked/syndicated, they were fired because they weren't needed to babysit robots.”
And that’s why radio folks call it Cheap Channel. — D.X. Ferris