Faber & Faber
In Right of the Dial, Alec Foege explores how the mammoth media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications evolved from a local radio broadcasting operation, founded in 1972, into one of the biggest, most profitable, and most polarizing corporations in the country. During its heyday, critics accused Clear Channel, the fourth-largest media company in the United States and the nation’s largest owner of radio stations, of ruining American pop culture and cited it as a symbol of the evils of media monopolization, while fans hailed it as a business dynamo, a beacon of unfettered capitalism.What’s undeniable is that as the owner at one point of more than 1,200 radio stations, 130 major concert venues and promoters, 770,000 billboards, and 41 television stations, Clear Channel dominated the entertainment world in ways that MTV and Disney could only dream of. But in the fall of 2006, after years of public criticism and flattening stock prices, Goliath finally tumbled—Clear Channel Communications, Inc., spun off its entertainment division and plotted to sell off one-third of its radio stations and all of its television concerns, and to transfer ownership of the rest of its holdings to a consortium of private equity firms. The move signaled the end of an era in media consolidation, and in Right of the Dial, Foege takes stock of the company’s successes and abuses, showing the manner in which Clear Channel reshaped America’s cultural and corporate landscape along the way.
“A uniquely American saga of commerce and culture gone mad.”—Alan Light, former editor in chief of Vibe and Spin magazines
“Read this book and you will want to scream. Alec Foege tells a tale of rapacity and financial engineering that could drive one to socialism.”—Ken Auletta
“To those who care deeply about what has been lost, culturally, as Clear Channel has taken command of the public airwaves these last four decades, Foege’s effort is a noble one. And the story he tells is as important as it is unnerving.”—JACQUES STEINBERG, The New York Times Book Review
“If you’ve ever overpaid for concert tickets or bemoaned the glut of advertising on the FM dial, [this book] will help you understand why . . . Worth [reading for its] juicy tales of ‘good ol’ boy’ nepotism and the sharp insights into a profit-obsessed business nicknamed ‘Cheap Channel.’”—BIANCA BOSKER, Fast Company