Clear Channel Communication’s online group, Clear Channel Online Music & Radio (CCOM&R), has launched beta versions of social networking mini sites on seven current radio station web sites including KYLD-FM in San Francisco, CA, WKSC-FM in Chicago, IL, and WHTZ-FM in New York, NY. Other markets include DC, Minneapolis, Dallas and West Palm Beach. Five other sites will follow in June 2007.
The backend is served by Onesite.com and offer common features including a chat feature, blog, personal avatar and customizable profile. Each will be designed to fit to the local station’s format, though all will use the same core template.
Meanwhile, at the corporate level, Clear Channel Communications is currently in the middle of considering a leveraged recapitalization proposal by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partner to become a private company, a deal worth more than $19 billion. This is the second time stockholders have been asked to vote on the proposal, which was increased from $37.60 per share to $39 (stock symbol is CCU). If accepted, which it looks like it will not be, board members would only receive $37.60 per share.
Clear Channel has already sold off many of its smaller market stations during the past year in preparation of going private.
Touching on just a few points:
- Social networking web site features were proposed internally at CC several years ago but rejected (granted, MySpace and YouTube were infants at the time so “social networking” and “blogging” weren’t even web terms yet).
- $39 per share is dirt compared to more than $50 (which it has not reached since Randy Michaels was redistributed from CEO of CC Radio to the head of the New Technologies Division in 2002).
- Shareholders were called at least a dozen times by the company distributing stockholder voting forms even after voting (they’re being so persistent since not voting is the same as voting against the proposal).
Will your feelings about Clear Channel change if it goes private?
Are the online group’s attempts to get social too little too late?