Clear Channel

San Antonio

Revenue: $7.97 billion

Loss: $1.14 billion

Clear Channel Communications radio, live-event and advertising behemoth has weathered economic recession, a post-9/11 slump, lawsuits, legislative action and, most recently, the loss of aggressive radio division chief Randy Michaels.

Those challenges have built up a wall of worry in the minds of radio investors, who have pushed the conglom’s stock price down from a high of $60 in the fall to a recent low of $20.

Clear Channel owns more than 1,200 stations, 130 live-entertainment venues, 36 TV stations and almost 700,000 outdoor ad displays. Exposure to the advertising market has meant trouble for Clear Channel in a sagging economy as customers slash their ad budgets.

The company, however, swung to a $240 million profit in the second quarter and beat analysts’ cash-flow estimates, even as revs remained flat, thanks to stronger sales of higher-margin ads and one-time gains

But other problems loom. Clear Channel has long faced criticism for its aggressive tactics in the radio market. A bill proposed by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wisc.) is aimed at curbing radio consolidation.

The company is also taking heat for the independent promotion system, which funnels millions of dollars from record labels to radio stations via an intermediary layer of promoters.

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