Monday, February 06, 2012

975 Mitt's Little Radio Company

975  Mitt’s Little Radio Company

Here’s the nub of it:  Mitt Romney owns the largest radio broadcaster in America, Clear Channel.  That’s not technically true.  But close enough.  His Bain Capital has invested tons of money in CC, which owns more stations than anyone else -- more than 800 of them, and is one of the most notorious cost and staff cutters in the business.

But it isn’t the number of stations it owns that is troubling today.  It’s the syndicated programs it also owns.  Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity etc.  Clear Channel all but created the right wing talk show industry, which is thriving.

Mitt’s out of the loop at Bain... at least officially.  But they contribute gobs of money (a gob is slightly less than a ton,) to Mitt’s campaign.  Mitt also owns a chunk of Bain, and probably the front office still takes his calls.

Broadcasting is a federally regulated business.  But Clinton managed to take the teeth out of the Federal Communications Commission and successor presidents have managed to channel its energies into trivia like “wardrobe mishaps” and which words one is not allowed to say... instead of things like news coverage and transmitter readings.

So Mitt has a pretty big forum for his self-promotion.  But more important, he has a vehicle that can exclude anything favorable about any other candidate of either party.

He doesn’t have to place that call and say something like “don’t talk nice about Newt.”  People who work for him will do that without being told.  And if called on it, Mitt can say with a straight face “I never said a word to anyone about stuff like that,” which is right up there with his take on helping poor people and strapping dogs to the roof of his car, but technically probably true.

Clear Channel’s stations don’t do a lot of news... if any.  But programs from its syndication arm, Premier Networks, are as ubiquitous as germs. Premier is the pot that boils the water that goes onto the nation’s ideological tea bags.

Shrapnel:

--Bain Capital owns big chunks of some other big outfits.  Toys R Us, Guitar Center, Staples, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.  For awhile, it owned the Weather Channel.  Every time you turn on a radio, buy a donut or a Whopper or a cheap pizza, you’re helping Mitt become president.

--Maybe it’s time for Ray Kelly to take his pension and retire.  Scandals and internal fights are nothing new in the NYPD, but they seem now to be coming in waves, not drips.  And at 70 with more than 11 years on the job -- as the cops call it -- maybe enough’s enough.

Have You Noticed?  With the recent retirement of Ann Taylor there are only three women left at NPR without hyphenated last names, and not to be outdone, some of the hyphenettes are thinking about adding a third last name.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012

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