Radio’s State of the Union, 2009

Tomorrow is the much-rumored day when broadcasting giant Clear Channel is scheduled to mount a massive shock and awe campaign against its own employees.  Looking to cut what’s been said to be as much as 400 million in costs, theoretically no one in the company is safe (or sleeping between now and the opening of business).

In the process, Clear Channel is expected to move towards a national programming model that would effectively eviscerate local talent and force content out from a central hive.  In other words: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Here in Chicago, big-name talent is being scrubbed from the airwaves with such regularity that there’s nothing at all surprising about it anymore.  Dan McNeil’s recent ouster from ESPN was only the latest stat to add to a growing Windy City body count which just recently claimed Steve Dahl.
How did it come to this?  Everyone’s got an opinion: Blame the internet!  Blame the owners! Blame the program directors!  Blame sales!  Blame Arbitron!  Blame satellite! Blame the talent!  
To be sure, the blame can’t exclusively fall on one of those things; the answer could never be that simple or clean.  So again, the question:  How did we get here? 
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