Clear Channel is revealing some of the new initiatives being rolled out at the current round of managers' meetings in Texas. And, despite the fears and rumors, "mass layoffs" is not on the list. Rather, the company is rolling out some new ways to increase localism.
According to Radio-Online, all markets will be held to a higher "minimum level of service" to their communities. Perhaps the most noticeable to listeners: every station will begin airing at least 12 minutes of PSAs every day, if they don't already do so. Other goals include increasing charitable partnerships, increasing the visbility of local public affairs programs, and music stations will be pressed to devote more airtime to the work of new, local, unsigned artists.
But the increase in localism doesn't necessarily equate to job security for local on-air talent. In a separate article, Radio-Online details an announcement from Clear Channel CEO John Hogan, including plans to "make programming and air talent that's proven to be most popular with audiences, available more broadly to local PDs in all markets for all dayparts." On the positive side, the article states "PDs will have total choice and flexibility" in choosing which, if any, of these options they'd like to use.
After reading both of those articles, be sure to read the "exclusive" interview AllAccess scored with Hogan today. While he says "there is no set number we are trying to get to" in terms of cost savings, he also points out local budgets are under "more scrutiny" while the tough economic times continue. Hogan acknowleged that smaller market stations with smaller budgets may have more constrained budgets, where using syndicated programming or out-of-town voicetrackers may be deemed a more cost-effective option. On the flip side, Hogan said local talent who "outperform" their own stations may get the chance to get airtime on more stations throughout the company.