Clear Channel Radio chairman and CEO Randy Michaels — the exec who helmed the group during its rise into a 1,240-station behemoth — has segued over to lead the company’s new technologies division.
Clear Channel made the announcement after the stock market closed Monday. The move immediately sent a shock wave throughout the industry, where Michaels had become a powerful and larger-than-life figure.
Clear Channel has been under fire in recent months on a number of fronts, including its relationship with independent promoters, which the radio company is presently renegotiating. Also, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) recently proposed a bill designed to prohibit what he calls anticompetitive practices in the radio and concert industries — most likely targeted at Clear Channel.
Michaels is a one-time shock jock who made the transition to the executive ranks. Clear Channel, the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S., also owns 37 TV stations, approximately 776,000 outdoor ad displays and operates giant event promotion/producing/marketing entity Clear Channel Entertainment.
Michaels was upped to chairman/CEO of Clear Channel’s radio operations soon after the conglomerate announced plans to purchase AMFM Radio; prior to that he had been prexy of the division.
Mark Mays, Clear Channel Communications’ prexy/chief operating officer, will take over Michaels’ radio role for now as acting CEO until a replacement is found.
“Randy has been, and continues to be, a great contributor to Clear Channel,” Mays said. “Without his vision and foresight we would not have been able to develop the best, most well-positioned, unduplicatable collection of radio stations in the world.”
Michaels’ departure comes little more than a week before Clear Channel announces its second quarter financial results on July 31.
According to the company, Michaels’ new job includes focusing on “the changing technological landscape,” including interactive, wireless broadband and satellite technologies.
“I am excited about the opportunity to once again look out into the future and help shape the way we will adapt to it,” Michaels said. “I enjoy the challenge and stimulation of breaking new ground and look forward to this newly created position.”
Mays said recently that he welcomes the chance to address the lawmakers’ concerns.
“While some contend that the radio industry has become too concentrated among a few large companies, in reality radio is significantly less concentrated than most other information and entertainment industries in terms of total industry revenues,” Mays said last month in a response to Feingold’s bill.