HITS Daily Double


Local Advisory Boards Created to Strengthen Ties, Address Criticism
Looks like Clear Channel has found another way to reach people.

In what it calls a move to “strengthen existing communications” with the communities they serve, Clear Channel Communications has announced that it will set up a local “advisory board” program. The boards will offer regular meetings between local management from CC’s Radio, Entertainment, Outdoor and Television divisions, and locals from non-profit and consumer advocacy groups, the music community, community and government leaders, customer representatives, and people who tag their billboards with graffiti.

The program was rolled out in San Antonio and will start this quarter in Cleveland and Sarasota, FL, in addition to other cities you sometimes fly over.

Said Clear Channel president/COO Mark Mays in a voice-tracked statement: “Local-community and customer sentiment have always played an enormous role in our decentralized business model, and we continue to believe our industry leadership in local-market research is an important reason for our business success. By creating standing advisory boards, we're expecting to help our local managers identify local market needs, concerns, and opportunities earlier so that we can act even more swiftly to serve our key local constituencies. And really, who doesn’t love having more meetings to attend?”

Mays told the Wall Street Journal that the makeup of the 10-12 person boards would be selected by local management to discuss issues of local concern and that they may include the company’s critics: “Our goal is to say, ‘Hey, what are the community needs and interests and guidelines?’ I'm sure we won't do everything they tell us to, but we're going to take them into consideration.”

Clear Channel has around 1,200 stations in 300-plus markets.