Wouldn’t it be great if a Republican presidential candidate could just buy the support of just about every major conservative talk show host in America? Well, it may not be as far-fetched as you may think.
Clear Channel owns more radio stations (850) than anyone else in the United States. They also own Premiere Radio Networks, the company that syndicates the radio shows of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, among others. Needless to say, Clear Channel basically owns conservative talk radio in the United States. So who owns Clear Channel? Well, it turns out that Bain Capital is one of the primary owners of Clear Channel. Yes, you read that correctly. The company that Mitt Romney ran for so long is one of the “big bosses” over virtually all conservative talk radio in America. Of course Mitt Romney is not running Bain Capital anymore. He is a “retired partner”, but he still has a huge financial stake in Bain Capital. We’re talking about millions upon millions of dollars. If you doubt this, just check out page 34 of this public financial disclosure report. So if you have been wondering why so many conservative talk show hosts are being so incredibly kind to Mitt Romney, this just might be the answer.
In the media world, there is a clear understanding that you simply do not bite the hand that feeds you. Some of the most prominent conservative talk radio hosts are earning tens of millions of dollars a year.
If you were making tens of millions of dollars a year, wouldn’t you be very careful to avoid offending your boss?
The deal in which Bain Capital became one of the owners of Clear Channel was initiated just a short time before Mitt Romney’s first run for president. The following comes from Wikipedia….
On November 16, 2006, Clear Channel announced plans to go private, being bought out by two private-equity firms,Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners for $18.7 billion, which is just under a 10 percent premium above its closing price of $35.36 a share on November 16 (the deal values Clear Channel at $37.60 per share).The deal was finalized in 2008. Today, Bain Capital is still one of the primary owners of Clear Channel.
One of the subsidiaries of Clear Channel is Premiere Radio Networks.
Premiere Radio Networks distributes a whole host of conservative talk radio shows. Everyone in the conservative world knows names such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Clear Channel also controls some other conservative talk radio hosts (such as Michael Savage and Mark Levin) that are not part of the Premiere Radio family.
The power that Premiere Radio Networks has is absolutely staggering. The following is directly from the official Clear Channel website….
Premiere Radio Networks Inc., a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, syndicates 90 radio programs and services to more than 5,000 radio affiliations and reaches over 190 million listeners weekly. Premiere Radio is the number one radio network in the country and features the following personalities: Rush Limbaugh, Jim Rome, Casey Kasem, Ryan Seacrest, Glenn Beck, Bob (Kevoian) & Tom (Griswold), Delilah, Steve Harvey, Blair Garner, George Noory, John Boy and Billy, Big Tigger, Dr. Dean Edell, Bob Costas, Sean Hannity and others. Premiere is based in Sherman Oaks, California, with 13 offices nationwide.So do you think that any of those hosts is going to risk viciously attacking Mitt Romney and Bain Capital during this election season?
One of the controversies that has plagued Premiere Radio Networks in recent years has been the uproar over their use of paid actors to call in to their radio shows.
The following comes from Wikipedia….
Clear Channel, through its subsidiary, Premiere Radio Networks, auditions and hires actors to call in to talk radio shows and pose as listeners in order to provide shows, carried by Clear Channel and other broadcasters, with planned content in the form of stories and opinions. The custom caller service provided by Premiere Radio ensures its clients they won’t hear the same actor’s voice for at least two months in order to appear authentic to listeners who might otherwise catch on.So perhaps that explains where some of the “Romney callers” come from.
There is nothing illegal about what Romney and Bain Capital have done, but it sure does not pass the “smell test”.
Conservative talk radio has the potential to sway millions of conservative voters in one direction or another, and it is just not proper for Bain Capital and Romney to have such an overpowering financial interest in conservative talk radio.
Someone was actually in the room with me while I was reading the article above and seeing the expression on my face, they quickly snapped a photo of my reaction to this article, which I have published below:
But, no seriously. This is like so evil-sounding it can't be real. It's like something out of a movie. Some powerful Wall Street executive who made a killing lobbying for taxpayer dollars also owns the radio programs that shape public opinion in his political party, and now he's running for president? Could Mitt Romney possibly be a bigger caricature? Could it be more blindingly obvious that this guy is a crony? Would it help if he tattooed "Wall Street Crony" to his forehead? Would that help?
Editor in Chief, THL
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