Wow, change is afoot. Major change. Not that TV hasn’t been immersed in a constant change for quite some time, but Thursday seemed to bring some biggies. First, the Clear Channel announcement. It’s a non-sale sale, like a non-denial denial. For the tidy sum of $18.7 billion, cash thanks for asking, San Antonio based Clear Channel has “merged” with two private equity entities. This means all those with stock in CC did very well, again thanks for asking. Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital are the new “owners” of the media firm, leaving the MAYS boys, RANDY and MARK, still at the helm of the company their father built from his one original AM radio station in SAT. The For Sale sign was immediately hung out on the 42 TV stations Clear Channel owns and runs. The goal of the venture capital guys are to run the Top 100 market radio stations, which they believe are a stable, low-capital business. So we’ll see who has the coin to buy a string of TV stations in today’s media world.
Change #2 is over at the Peacock Network (don’t you love referring to NBC that way?!). For the second time in two days, a major exec has turned in his notice. RANDY FALCO has taken leave of NBCUNI to run AOL. Yesterday, DAVID ZAZLOW jumped ship to go run Discovery. These are knowns. One of the unknowns fueling buzz is that JEFF ZUCKER is going to be promoted to the spot that BOB WRIGHT has, namely Chairman and CEO. And it was just yesterday Jeff was calling the shots and making Katie Couric happy at TODAY.
Did I say change? CBS is changing as well. As of Thursday, the entire promotion department at Atlanta’s WUPA, CBS’s The CW station, have been pink slipped. And most of the promotion folks at CBS’s Tampa, another The CW station WTOG, received the same buhbye message. So there’s some very good folks who are wondering what is next on their career plates. The plan is to do all the promos for Atlanta and Tampa from the CBS station in Norfolk. NBC calls this plan hubbing, but CBS prefers to call it hosting.
Meanwhile, CBS also announced two promotions. JOANNE CALABRIA is now a VP of Public Affairs and will work from her Philadelphia office at KYW, where she also oversees the communications department. On the West Coast, MIKE NELSON is now VP of Communications for all 39 CBS/Viacom stations. He’ll not only keep his office in LA at KCBS but also get an office in NYC. Cool. Bicoastal offices. Say hi to MARSHALL HITES, Mike.
Thought to hold in mind and ponder: “Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.” ~ unknown