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November 29, 2006 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-29

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 - The Michigan Daily

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Why the recent buyout of Clear Channel will
have lasting effects on American culture

TALKING
POINTS
Three things you can talk about
this week:
1. Metro Detroit road scholars
2. String theory
3. Rapid growth

QUOTES OF THE WEEK
We believe it is a more
accurate reflection of
what is happening there,
and there was a fair
amount of reaction to the
decision today ... even
though a number of news
organizations have already
made a similar call.
- NBC news anchor BRIAN WILLIAMS, on
the network's decision Monday to the refer to
the violence in Iraq as civil war.

"It sounds to me like
excessive force was used."
- New York City Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG
in a press conference Monday, referring to the 50
shots the NYC police fired at a 23-year-old man
outside of a Queens nightclub last weekend, as
reported yesterday by the New York Times.
"This is the first time we've
rejected a program because
we thought it was not
tasteful."
- A spokesperson for the owner of several Fox
affiliates on their recent decision not to air a
planned airing of a mock O.J. Simpson confession.

I you've lived in or visited the Unit- At this point, Cle
ed States in the past 30 years, you've chasing as many m'
encountered it: Britney Spears has built It even began to buy
her career with the help of it, your local and opened an ent
television news broadcaster may be run by advertising (fromb
it and even your wardrobe may have been ments ontaxis). As i
influenced by it. While this may sound like Channel owns 9 per
the riddle your parents e-mailed you that 98 in the United States
percentof all Harvard graduates can't solve, tions in Ann Arbor
the truth is much more compelling. in the state of Mich
"It" is actually one ofthe largestconglom- 18 percent of radio 1
erates in the world: Clear Channel Commu- the United States. I
nications. But after its recently-announced and digital billboar
merger with the equity group Thomas H. prominent areas of
Lee Partner, L.P. and Bain Capital Part- Times Square and t
ners, LLC, Clear Channel's influence on and walk).
dominance of American media might get a
little weaker. Merging con-
In a Nov. 16 announcement, Clear Chan- glomerates
nel said it would accept the merger with
the equity groups for a little more than $26 Clear Channel
billion (including the payment of nearly $8 will certainly not
billion of debt the communications giant lose any power
had totaled). In addition, Clear Channel with this merger.
announced its plans to sell 448 of its near In fact, there's
1,500 radio stations as well as its entire a strong chance
television station group (totally more than it will become a
40 separate stations). But this enormous more prevalent
clearance of networks will be unable to stop and dominating
what many feel is a malignant monopoly on fixture in Ameri-
American media and pop culture. can media. The

ar Channel began pur-
edia outlets as possible.
out television networks
tire branch of outdoor
billboards to advertise-
t currently stands, Clear
cent of all radio stations
s - with four radio sta-
alone and a total of 17
igan. This accounts for
broadcasting revenue in
It also owns traditional
ds in some of the most
f the nation (including
he Atlantic City Board-
Clear Channelc
cent of all radio
the United Stat
four radio stati
Arbor alone an
state of Michig

And don't be fooled by the sale of 448
radio stations or Clear Channel's television
broadcast group. Not only will those radio
frequencies hardly make a dent in the com-
pany's immensely thick shell of stations, but
none of them are within the top 100 mar-
kets in the nation. So while it may appear
that the company is relinquishing some of
their tremendous power with this merger,
it's clear that Clear Channel is losing little
influence.
Cultural dictators
The real reason that Clear Channel has
drawn so much attention since its blanket
cleanup of media net-
works is because of
its ability to dictate
and control Ameri-
can pop culture and
thought. It's nearly
owns 9 per- impossible to book a
show ina major venue
stations in (say, The Palace of
es - with Auburn Hills) with-
out going through
ons in Ann Clear Channel. And
as many believe,
d 17 in the if Clear Channel
doesn't agree with a
an. group's attitude, per-
ception or beliefs, it
won't allow the group
to play a venue.
While Clear Chan-

cry from many never ceased. Clear Channel
denied these claims, saying, "Clear Channel
Radio does not issue mandates with regard
to individual artists or songs ... Clear Chan-
nel radio stations play these songs or artists
more times than any other radio company."
A similar situation occurred after Dixie
Chicks' front woman Natalie Maines made
anti-Bush statements. But, in response,
Clear Channel said, "some Clear Chan-
nel radio stations increased airplay of the
group's music in the weeks after Natalie
Maines made her comments; other Clear
Channel radio stations temporarily sus-
pended airplay." In both cases, the corpora-
tion does not accept responsibility for the
lack of play, and whether or not the public
outcry was warranted, the fear is that Clear
Channel actually has the ability to limit
these songs if it so chooses.
And this is why Clear Channel is so influ-
ential in American culture. If it doesn't want
the public listening to specific music, it has
the ability to limit its airtime (even though
they never have). Similarly, it can attempt
to dictate fashion and commerce through
their immense and strategically placed
billboards and advertisements. Thousands
of people commute through Times Square
daily, and a good number of them are influ-
enced by what they see on the billboards
overhead. If Clear Channel wanted people
to wear Abercrombie and Fitch, it could do
their share.
Maybe that's the bigger problem though
- the disturbing influence the mass media
has over the American public. But that's
larger debate. The fact of the matter is, it
does. And with Clear Channel's influence
and constant appearance in American
media, it has become one of the most impor-
tant and powerful companies in the world.
The sale of 448 small network radio stations
won't change anything for Clear Channel.
Neither will the sale of its television group.
This merger will do nothing but strengthen
Clear Channel and make it an even more
prominent.fixture inAmerican society.

And three
things
you can't:
1. The First
daughters
2. Neandertal
and homosapien
procreation
3. Kingdom
Come

YOUTUBE
VIDEO THE
WEEK WEEK
Watching how
cocaine is made
The stunningly candid video,
set in Columbia, documents how
cocaine is made step-by-step. From
the addition of everything from
acid to gasoline (helpfully annotat-
ed with subtitles), each step in the
process makes the video more and
more unbearable to watch.
The most revealing scene? A
young man, after he shows off his
product, is asked if he takes drugs.
The kid laughs. "The guerillas don't
allow it," he says.
See thefull video at http://www.
youtube.com/login?next url=/wat
ch%3Feurl%3D%26v%3DlZHUmy
rwOXI.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION
BY SHUBRA OH RI/Daily
BY TH E NUMBERS

The history of an empire
Founded in 1972, Clear Channel bought
its first radio station in San Antonio, Texas.
At that point, it continued to buy a number
of different stations but were restricted by
the Communications Act of 1934. Under the
Act, Clear Channel wasn't allowed to own
more than two stations in any given market.
But this ability to control the monopoliza-
tion of American media was almost com-
pletely diminished six decades later, when
the Telecommunications Act of 1996 passed
- removing nearly all restrictions placed
on Clear Channel and other companies con-
cerning the ownership of said stations.

two firms it will
merging with, Bain
Capital Partner,
LLC and Thomas
H. Lee Partners.

L.P., own about
200 companies worldwide. Bain Capital has claims, there have b
investments in companies like AMC Enter- es that point to thi
tainment and Burger King. Clear Channel Clear Channel veh
will most likely buy advertising space at after Sept. 11, it was
movie theaters, and may implement their nel radio networks
ads at the fast food chain as well. Needless by the group Rag
to say, Clear Channel is not losing many and neglecting to p
opportunities to build upon their influence. words like "plane
Thomas H. Lee Partners owns a similar started to circulate
amount of real estate and manages a num- banned these songs
ber of worldwide corporations. effort to show their

nel often denies these
een a number of instanc-
s situation (all of which
;emently denies). Shortly
s noted that Clear Chan-
weren't playing songs
e Against the Machine
lay songs that included
" or "crash." Rumors
that Clear Channel had
from its networks in an
patriotism. But the out-

Percentage of worldwide fossil fuel emissions in the 1990s that were
the result of the U.S. transportation sector, mostly passenger vehicles.
Percentage of the fossil fuel emissions that the were the
result of the United States in total.
Percentage the United States makes up of the world's population.
Figures taken fror ytie se m and the
Natural esrese,,Defee eCo~uc ebsite.

TREND OF THE WEEK
Members of the Sheen/Estevez clan making
historical biopics
RANDOM WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE
OF THE WEEK
Death
Death is the end of life, the full cessation of vital functions in a bio-
logical organism. It is generally considered a permanent state in the
field of biology, and all living things eventually die, whether through
natural causes such as disease, or unnatural ones such as accident.
Historically, attempts to define the exact moment of death have
been problematic. Death was once defined as the cessation of heart-
beat (cardiac arrest) and of breathing, but the development of CPR
and prompt defibrillation posed a challenge, rendering the previous
definition inadequate. This earlier definition of death is now called
"clinical death", and even after it occurs, breathing and heartbeat
may be restarted in some cases. Events which were causally linked
to death in the past are now prevented from having an effect; even
without a functioning heart and lungs, a person can be sustained with
life support devices. In addition to such extremes, there are a growing
number of people who would quickly die if their organ transplants or
artificial pacemakers failed.
See thefullarticle at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death.

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