It has to be this way, however. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. That's what years of mismanagement and ineptitude do to businesses and, in traditional radio's case, an entire industry. How Pittman and other Clear Channel executives can look their employees, investors and the public in the face touting the company's digital presence, iHeart Radio, and clout with listeners and advertisers is beyond me. Have they looked at the balance sheet? Have they looked at how they singlehandedly killed and continue to kill an entire medium? I receive an email each day from RadioInfo.com -- it's basically a shill for the dying industry. On Wednesday, the two lead stories: Clear Channel Debt Issue Sparks Speculation of Sell-Offs, Mergers and More. Basically, Moody's isn't sure Clear Channel will be able to refinance (again) more than $10 billion in debt that comes due in 2016. That means they'll fire more people. Layoffs Coming to Clear Channel San Diego? It's an event when you do not see a headline like that in an edition of the RadioInfo.com newsletter. To deal with its debt, Clear Channel will fire people, sell stations and make complicated swap and merger deals that will likely also trigger job losses. That's the status quo at the company.
And it doesn't have to be -- Mel Karmazin, a former terrestrial radio guy, found a way to competently dig Sirius XM ( SIRI) out of a similar jam. Clear Channel -- what a hellish place to work. That's not just conjecture on my part. I know people who have worked there, work there now and will likely get chopped sooner or later. It's business, I realize this. But, at some point, can we humanize this type of thing? Can we have a serious discussion about how a CEO like Bob Pittman can have a dream contract while sacrificing employees left and right? Companies such as Clear Channel screw real people each and every day. We're talking about people who do not make much money. Receptionists. Sales assistants. Board operators. Producers. Many of these folks have annual salaries in the teens and twenties and hourly earnings as low as minimum wage.