Once again, the good folks over at Media Matters have exposed the dangers of corporate media and why Rush Limbaugh is rolling in a new $400 million contract while his bosses at Clear Channel are bleeding cash at an alarming rate. Ironically enough, $400 million is the same amount of money Clear Channel is trying to save this year, they've already cut 12% of their workforce in the process. This is a subject that's near and dear to me since I was one of the many victims of the collapse of the radio industry in the last two years.
This isn't directly Rush Limbaugh's fault, though the environment he created in the radio industry probably didn't help. No, as much as I would love to blame the long lost son of Jabba the Hutt, it's not his fault that the people who sign his paychecks are complete idiots. Blame falls in the lap of corporate media, it's the same reason newspapers and television stations are dying off - the parent companies are just too damn big. Media consolidation and deregulation has put these companies in the same position as the financial giants "Too big," but radio isn't considered "too big to fail," so no bailout for them. And you know what? Good. Even though I'm no longer in my chosen profession, corporate radio needs to die.
When times were good, the heads of Clear Channel were arrogantly walking on sunshine, pushing a political agenda and continuing to make the industry smaller and smaller, but now that times are tough, they throw out a nine-figure contract to Limbaugh while axing thousands of people across the country. Does Limbaugh deserve a ton of money? Of course, but $400 million? Give me a break. I'm sure some conservative will come whining to me about wanting to "punish Limbaugh's success," but to that I ask, why do you want to keep others from succeeding?
Why are today's conservatives so worried about the guy making $400 million, but could seemingly care less about the guy making $40,000? What about the people left in the radio business who are taking paycuts and doing the job of three employees? What about the death of local content? What about live, in-studio broadcasters being replaced by Voice-Tracking so employers only have to pay someone for one hour of work instead of five?
There will never be another radio success story like Rush Limbaugh, not as long as companies like Clear Channel control the business, corporate radio can't afford a personality to get bigger than the station they're on. A handful of corporations took away the ability for minimum wage radio employees to become as successful as Rush thanks to the government allowing them to own the entire industry. Radio has become an environment where employees can't strive for more, they can't ask for a raise, they have no advantage in contract negotiations and they certainly can't threaten to take their work elsewhere. In today's radio industry, you're lucky to just be employed, so you're expected to shut up and do what you're told. How are you supposed to work your way up when the ladder is in quicksand?