On July 24, 2008, Bain Capital Partners, LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners, LP acquired Clear Channel for $18.7 billion in cash and assumption of $8 billion in debt. However, the company now finds itself smack dab up close and personal in the 2012 campaign for president of the United States. Mitt Romney is the co-owner and co-founder of Bain Capital. Bain, a private equity fund, was also part of Cumulus Media Partners until Cumulus Media, Inc. went public and bought out Romney’s interest.
John Klesewetter, a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter and TV critic, writes a TV & Media Blog at Cincinnati.com, (the Enquirer’s website), which , incidentally , is owned by one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country, Gannett, which is #8 on the list of top media corporations.
In his blog, Klesewetter called attention to radio analyst Tom Taylor (Taylor on Radio, www.radio-info.com ) remarks that the ownership of Clear Channel has not come up in the Presidential debates, although Bain Capital’s “role in the American economy” has been mentioned.
However, a blog reader revealed a remarkable irony: “It was a little weird watching Sean Hannity defend Bain Capital in a discussion of free market capitalism --- when I know that Bain has an interest in Hannity’s syndication company.” The syndicator is Clear Channel-owned Premiere.
Whoownsthenews.com further diminishes stereotypes about mainstream liberal media. That site reveals that a Saudi prince bin Talal owns 5.5% of Fox. According to www.worldnetdaily.com , the Prince exercised influence to alter Fox’s “Muslim riots” headline to “Youth riots.”
Returning to corporate media ownership and its relation to ‘free speech,’ the www.whoownsthenews.com site highlights a quote, “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one (attributed to A.J. Liebling).” Clear Channel becomes an “example,” as it bought up “every radio station, TV outlet and newspaper in major markets, effectively controlling everything that people read, watched and heard.”
Since the Bain buy out of Clear Channel , the company has struggled under the debt created by its acquisition. The media company has become involved in TV production through a minority stake in Ryan Seacrest’s production company. It produces “American Idol” and “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.” Not so ironically, the syndicated Seacrest program replaced Gary ‘Music’ Miller on WKEE FM.
Some Clear Channel stations (KFI , Los Angeles; KOGO, San Diego) have been criticized for strenuously pushing Mit’s conservative positions, despite listening audiences much more conservative than Romney.However, WVHU (formerly WKEE AM 800) broadcasts The Tom Roten Morning Show, a call in talk show. On Thursday, January 12, 2012, he posted his “15 Reasons I Can’t Vote for Romney.” Among them, “after the March 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one Associated Press article stated, “Obamacare … looks a lot like Romneycare” and he told the 2002 Massachusetts GOP convention, “I respect and will fully protect a woman’s right to choose.” For more of Rotten’s 15 Reasons, check out: http://www.800wvhu.com/pages/tomroten.html