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Scher ankles Metropolitan

Exec may have been unsatisfied with direction of company

John Scher, founder of concert promotion firm Metropolitan Entertainment Group and organizer of the Woodstock revival shows, has ankled his post at the company after 30 years at the helm.

Exec will be replaced as chief exec by Scott Mackin, who heads Covanta Energy Corp., a majority stakeholder in MEG. However, the company’s day-to-day operations will be handled by senior VPs Keith Beccia and Debra Rathwell.

Sources close to the situation said the move stemmed from tension between Scher and Covanta over the direction of the company — particularly over the potential sale of Metropolitan to radio and live-event behemoth Clear Channel Communications.

Scher expressed some dissatisfaction with the direction in which the concert industry, led by Clear Channel, is headed in an interview with Daily Variety just two days before he resigned.

Complaints voiced

“The proliferation of a single entity booking national tours and the consolidation of the music industry … are ignoring the expertise of a regional promoter,” he said. “And radio doesn’t care about career development. They only look to play a song and not go deeper or even tell you who the artist is. This is not healthy for the music business.”

But Beccia maintained that, while Metropolitan “has been for sale for some time,” Covanta has no plans to sell to Clear Channel in the near future.

Meanwhile, Scher will remain a director of the company and also will be president of Hybrid Recordings, the promoter’s inhouse label. Hybrid’s recent releases include the soundtrack to the Fine Line pic “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

Pure passion

“I have put my heart, soul and indeed my entire professional business life into Metropolitan,” Scher said in a statement Wednesday. “I believe we have developed a solid, multifaceted entertainment company that has a very bright future.”

Scher, who got his start booking such bands as the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones into New Jersey’s Capital Theater in the 1970s and ’80s, also worked with such greats as Anita Baker and the Isley Brothers.

Metropolitan currently operates such venues as Gotham’s Hammerstein Ballroom, the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center and Baltimore’s Pier Six Concert Pavilion.

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