Sunday, January 5, 2003

Clear Channel's dominance

Shaping culture in 2003


From broadcasting to Broadway to big rock, Clear Channel controls much of what we hear and, as far as live entertainment, much of what we see.

The country's largest radio/concert company wakes us in the morning and travels to and from work with us. Clear Channel owns eight Cincinnati stations: WLW-AM, WEBN-FM, WOFX-FM, WFKS-FM, WVMX-FM, WSAI-AM, WKRC-AM and WCKY-AM.

After its broadcasting arm gives us a taste for a certain artist, Clear Channel's concert division takes over. The company manages Riverbend Music Center, and books the Taft Theatre, Bogart's, 20th Century and several other venues.

Clear Channel has gone Broadway, presenting the Cincinnati musical theater event of the year, The Lion King, at the Aronoff Center. St. Peter and the Vatican, coming to Cincinnati Museum Center in December, is a Clear Channel exhibit.

This dominance has had little negative impact on the average ticket-buyer. Clear Channel keeps the venues booked; the rise in ticket prices is due more to artists' demands than corporate greed.

But because Cincinnati has a reputation as a conservative concert market in taste and spending, newer, riskier artists often are booked into Indianapolis, Cleveland or Columbus. Many bigger shows skip Cincinnati. Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and U2 come to mind from 2002.

With so many nearby markets, Clear Channel sees little need to spend time and money developing this one. If we don't "perform" well, the company takes its shows elsewhere. So, when you're budgeting for concerts, don't forget to add in gas money.

25 forces that will shape culture in 2003
1. The big economic squeeze
2. Clear Channel's dominance
3. Suburbanites: Will they roam?
4. The plea for racial healing
5. The media's message
6. A whole new ball game
7. Edgy art center opening
8. Tall Stacks rolls back
9. Will tourists go home happy?
10. How Fine Arts Fund carries clout
11. You can't fight City Hall
12. Laura Long: Downtown force
13. The CSO's growing empire
14. Rosenthals' big impact
15. Northern Kentucky development
16. Museum Center's main man
17. Lobbyist Weiland
18. UC at crossroads
19. The Nederlanders make a comeback
20. MidPoint: Rebuild the city on rock 'n' roll
21. The Schuster Center alternative
22. Another public art project goes to bat
23. The brain drain
24. Local film community gains focus
25. Dancing around visa problems
The wild card of 2003: War
2003 dates to keep in mind

DEMALINE: The arts
KENDRICK: Alive & Well
Get to it!