Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Evil Corporate Villains Department

If you aren't up-to-speed already (which I am not), here is your homework. It's Salon's series of articles on Clear Channel, the media giant that has gobbled up the last vestiges of independent radio in America. Word on the street is that they are very well-written and quite informative. I defer to Kriston's comments/excerpts on the jaw droppingly atrocious corporate culture of Clear Channel. Read on:

i have never been for criticizing/regulating individuals or organizations for their moral content (eg, the Clinton administration) when what they produce generally has nothing to do with morality. but this sickens:

"What buttoned-down Clear Channel inherited, says Unmacht, were "basically good ol' boys from the frat house. They want to see who can be the rudest and crudest. Everything is done with the attitude of 16-year-olds in gym class, but with modern-day business smarts. They're definitely a rough lot." A few years ago Unmacht had dinner with an entourage of Jacor executives, including Michaels, at a Cincinnati restaurant, where they pointed out the still-visible stains from butter patties they had thrown at light fixtures.

That corporate culture extends down to the stations in various ways. It was given national exposure in the '90s when Jacor jock Liz Richards, working out of WFLA in Tampa, Fla., sued the company, including Michaels personally, for sexual harassment.

Interviewed on ABC's "20/20" program in 1992, Richards alleged that male co-workers dubbed her president of the "Cunt Club," that on the employee sign-in board someone drew a caricature of her with a penis ejaculating in her mouth and that a station manager falsely bragged to colleagues at a business dinner about getting head from Richards in a limousine.

Gary Kelly, a friend of Richards', appeared on camera to tell about the time he showed up at a station event to meet Richards and was told by her boss that the single mother of two was busy giving blow jobs in the parking lot.

At the time, Michaels was vice president of programming and an on-air personality at WFLA. Richards said he had a hand in setting the station's tone -- she told ABC he once roamed the station halls with a flexible rubber penis tied around his neck, accosting female employees.

Michaels would not be interviewed on the show, and rejected the charges.

Jacor's response? "We are going to be forced to make public certain things about [Richards'] behavior which are going to further tarnish her reputation," Dave Reinhart, WFLA station manager and close friend of Michaels, told the St. Petersburg Times. Richards' suit was settled out of court in 1995.

More recently, Jacor's Tampa stations were back in the news in February, when WXTB morning man Todd Clem, who has the on-air handle "Bubba the Love Sponge," broadcast the killing of a live boar from the station's parking lot. WXTB posted pictures of the blood-soaked stunt on its Web site. It was the third time in a year that an animal was killed or tortured on-air at a Clear Channel station."

-- terrible. this kind of shit is allowed to rise to the top?


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