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The Great Hizzy!

Clear Channel Billboard Bandits

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At least Mayor White openly addresses the issue of renegade and unwanted billboards throughout the city.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2810193

"I think they're trying to escape through a loophole," White said. "The billboard industry is on notice that the people of Houston want there to be fewer billboards."

AND...

Clear Channel's other 1,100 billboards in the city are scheduled to be removed in 2009 or 2013.

That sounds impressive--sounds impressive, anyway.

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Yeah, I wondered about that. For one thing, I had no idea we had such a strong billboard ordinance. But the "2009 OR 2013" thing sounds funny - it could easily turn into 2026, knowing the way these companies do court battles. I don't think I would want all of the city's billboards to be removed - the landscape would be too artificially clean, and we would lose a viable source of public information. But I would be perfectly happy if, say, 80% of them were to go, particularly those in scenic areas.

I'm not sure White is going to get his wish with getting these 250 billboards removed. I expect that this little disagreement will go to the courts, where it is sure to move forward at a glacial pace.

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You're probably right, H-town Man. I would like to think, however, that having more public representatives reiterate the public's seemingly growing distaste for overbearing and unsightly billbarods would have a postive impact eventually.

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"we would lose a viable source of public information"

I'll start trying to think of something I have learned from a billboard and get back with you.

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"we would lose a viable source of public information"

I'll start trying to think of something I have learned from a billboard and get back with you.

Perhaps I'm not very intelligent, and need to learn things from billboards that others already know. But I can think of a lot of situations, like the many charity announcements the article mentions, or the guy who needed a liver, or something involving one of the Med Center hospitals, or even the Chinese advertisements for Rockets basketball, where I have enjoyed having (some) billboards in town.

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Drive I-45, full of billboards, and then take 288, billboard free.

It's a no-brainer.

And if Clear Channel is so gracious, they should donte free air time on their 10,000 radio stations.

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Drive I-45, full of billboards, and then take 288, billboard free.

It's a no-brainer.

And if Clear Channel is so gracious, they should donte free air time on their 10,000 radio stations.

Did I not say that I think 80% of our billboards should be taken down? Did I ever say that I enjoyed freeways that are full of billboards?

Who said Clear Channel was gracious? I hate Clear Channel.

Read the posts that you are responding to. It's a no-brainer.

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"I don't think I would want all of the city's billboards to be removed - the landscape would be too artificially clean, and we would lose a viable source of public information. "

Huh?! Clearly, you've never lived in a city without billboards lining major highways. I have (D.C.). "Too artificially clean?" Its called aesthetically pleasing! And trust me, I don't think the people of Washington consider billboards a "viable source of public information."

Billboards are vile and a pox on our urban landscape. I'll be the first to volunteer to help dismantle them and dump their remains off in front of the Clear Channel Corporate offices in San Antonio.

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You know, one reason I think why this forum loses so many of its best members is that there are certain immature people - I'm not naming names - who just cannot stand for anyone to have a view that is different than theirs. Someone says something that they disagree with, even if their general view of the issue is the same, and they pitch a childish fit. Most likely they're snobbish artsy types, with a chip on their shoulder from God-knows-where, who hate and fear regular society and take out their aggressions on the internet. Honestly, what else could you conclude about somebody who would out of the blue turn a civil discussion into an insult war?

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"I don't think I would want all of the city's billboards to be removed - the landscape would be too artificially clean, and we would lose a viable source of public information. "

Huh?! Clearly, you've never lived in a city without billboards lining major highways. I have (D.C.). "Too artificially clean?" Its called aesthetically pleasing! And trust me, I don't think the people of Washington consider billboards a "viable source of public information."

Actually firstngoal, I have too (Chicago), so clearly you are mistaken. I've also been to D.C., and while the freeways were nice, it all felt a little too stringently planned for me. As for what the people of Washington consider a viable source of public information, I couldn't really care less. Perhaps if you think Washington and its people are more advanced than those in Houston, you would be happier living there. One thing that was always true about Houston, even in its crassest days, is that the people here were down to earth, and didn't hold snobbish airs about what others thought looked good. If becoming a beautiful town means having people with your attitude, I'll take ugly.

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Gee... I don't recall there being a personal attack. I'll let other forum members judge for themselves... I accused you of not living in a city without billboards - I was wrong. But I'll take a billboard-free Houston any day... and I stand by my word that it is a pox on our landscape. But I guess this is "a childish fit." MidtownCoog, looks like you and I need to "stop hating and fearing regular society and taking out our aggressions on the internet." Clearly, this billboard forum is my cry for help.

As far as this "snob attitude" that I clearly demonstrate - boy, you are so off-base it is amazing. I was born in Houston, Texas and care very much about it. Even as a teenager - growing up in the heart of the Montrose and Heights areas - I was bothered by Houston's cluttered freeways and lack of design standards. I went to DC to go to college - and lived there a few years upon graduation. I came back to Houston because I thought I could make a difference here - a difference in my hometown because I cared about its people and its future.

I now work here, live here, and play here... and I am proud of this city. I'm actively involved in community events and have volunteered hundreds of hours for many not-for-profit groups in this town. So, that makes me a "snob" with "a chip-on-my-shoulder." Wow. I've never been called that before in my life... and can't believe that I would be called that in regard to the town I love. Heck, I'll go ahead and take this website off my favorites if that is the way it is. Enjoy writing to yourself, H-Town....

BTW, I have lived with billboard proliferation my entire life here - and as Mayor White stated - I am tired of it (as are thousands of other Houstonians). They are not a badge of honor for our town - they are repeatedly pointed out as visual pollution and I believe they harm our image, our economy, and our aesthetics. I will continue to fight against them with all of my energy - and if you are disturbed by those feelings - so very sorry.

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i'm in agreement with firstngoal, all the bill boards are trully a blemish on this cities landscape. there's nothing snobbish whatsoever about wanting to get rid of them; it's about wanting your city to live up to higher standards and not just some free for all for corporate america.

and oh, yeah, i despise clear channel and apparently i'm not alone 'cause they're now starting to refer to themselves as 'cc entertainment'.

why_radio_sucks.jpg

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Gee... I don't recall there being a personal attack. I'll let other forum members judge for themselves... I accused you of not living in a city without billboards - I was wrong. But I'll take a billboard-free Houston any day... and I stand by my word that it is a pox on our landscape. But I guess this is "a childish fit." MidtownCoog, looks like you and I need to "stop hating and fearing regular society and taking out our aggressions on the internet." Clearly, this billboard forum is my cry for help.

As far as this "snob attitude" that I clearly demonstrate - boy, you are so off-base it is amazing. I was born in Houston, Texas and care very much about it. Even as a teenager - growing up in the heart of the Montrose and Heights areas - I was bothered by Houston's cluttered freeways and lack of design standards. I went to DC to go to college - and lived there a few years upon graduation. I came back to Houston because I thought I could make a difference here - a difference in my hometown because I cared about its people and its future.

I now work here, live here, and play here... and I am proud of this city.  I'm actively involved in community events and have volunteered hundreds of hours for many not-for-profit groups in this town. So, that makes me a "snob" with "a chip-on-my-shoulder." Wow. I've never been called that before in my life... and can't believe that I would be called that in regard to the town I love. Heck, I'll go ahead and take this website off my favorites if that is the way it is. Enjoy writing to yourself, H-Town....

BTW, I have lived with billboard proliferation my entire life here - and as Mayor White stated - I am tired of it (as are thousands of other Houstonians). They are not a badge of honor for our town - they are repeatedly pointed out as visual pollution and I believe they harm our image, our economy, and our aesthetics. I will continue to fight against them with all of my energy - and if you are disturbed by those feelings - so very sorry.

If you didn't intend to attack me, you don't need to worry about defending yourself, and can take the moral high ground. Sorry for the offense. The problem with the internet is that it's very hard to tell how serious someone is when all you have is what they typed. Your initial post seemed rude. But don't worry about it.

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I don't think anyone really even likes Clear Channel

Clear Channel, wait I take that back, Cheap Channel is the DEVIL!!!!! I'm glad the Urban stations in this town are not run by that evil conglamorate anymore; the same for other markets too. IMO it is not the stations' fault CC swallowed them whole, screwing them up forever and making clones out of them robbing them of local identity.

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There could be far fewer billboards, many are eyesores and not kept up by their owners or hardly rented. Also, it could be good for the industry to reduce them... the available space would be worth more and the message would be less likely lost in clutter. I do wish there were more public art projects on billboards in prominent locations...

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I don't want to totally eliminate billboards, but I want there to be a lot less of them. Certain areas of town have managed to become very nice by banning billboards. An example is Uptown. Imagine seeing billboards all along the West Loop, Post Oak Blvd., Westheimer. It would ruin the area. The same is true of Allen Parkway, Memorial Drive, parts of the Southwest Freeway, and other areas like Hermann Park.

But with other roads, it seems excessive to want to remove ALL billboards. The North Freeway will never resemble the forested freeways of Washington or Chicago. It would be better if about 80% of them were gone - then we wouldn't be bombarded with garish ads - but I think a few of them are okay. I recall times when I have chuckled over something I saw on a billboard. They are a viable means of communication for a city that does not take itself too seriously.

A good example of what I think is the right approach to billboard regulation is Dallas. On many stretches of highway in that city you see no billboards at all, but occasionally one pops up here or there, usually in an area where there is little chance of ruining any existing scenery or aesthetics. I think that for a Texas city, considering the way freeways have been designed and evolved in Texas (i.e. commercial thoroughfares as opposed to scenic expressways), this is the best approach.

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Hopefully you know, unlike the rest of these people, that billboards will not turn against us one day and wipe out the human race as originally thought.  :rolleyes:

you didn't hear the news? the fbi just busted a ring of billboards plotting to blow up the galleria.

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Just remove the Clear channel bill boards and be done with them but there is one thing you all are missing! More unemployed people in our city. The bill board companies employ a lot of people and if we remove the billboards they will have to close up shop and lay off quiet a few people.

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The most current numbers in the Houston area reflect 1.5% job growth over the past twelve months, or approximately 30,000 new jobs. Employment in the Houston area is now roughly equivalent to the all-time high and the city is in the top 10 in the U.S. among major employment growth markets. Unemployment rates here are statistically very close to what is being experienced in both Texas and the U.S. Reducing the number of billboards in our city will not have an impact on our unemployment rate. Period.

Sorry - but I have little concern for an industry that cares little about Houston's image or quality-of-life. Clear Channel, Viacom, Lamar - it doesn't matter - they are all greedy corporations based elsewhere who could give a flying **** about the place I call home. But you know, they are totally taking advantage of the rules as they now apply, so who can blame them. We all know corporate America is far more concerned about the bottom-line than benevolence.

I am in complete agreement that we need to come up with a compromise on billboards. Limit their placement, limit their height (!), limit their overall number, and limit their content... and I'll be happy. Yes, I said content. For example, do we really want to promote hard alcohol while people are driving???

The last thing I will add is this... I work in Boston regularly. Our office there has collected pictures of places all across America... Seattle - the Space Needle; San Antonio - the Alamo, Chicago - Wrigley Field, you get the point. What represented Houston in that office?? A picture of a huge billboard over an interstate advertising vasectomy reversals!!!! If people don't think that reflects an image problem for our town, I don't know what does. I insisted they replace it with a cool photo of our skyline... and they obliged. However, that (vasectomy) image will be forever ingrained in their psyche when they think of Houston.

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The most current numbers in the Houston area reflect 1.5% job growth over the past twelve months, or approximately 30,000 new jobs. Employment in the Houston area is now roughly equivalent to the all-time high and the city is in the top 10 in the U.S. among major employment growth markets. Unemployment rates here are statistically very close to what is being experienced in both Texas and the U.S. Reducing the number of billboards in our city will not have an impact on our unemployment rate. Period.

Sorry - but I have little concern for an industry that cares little about Houston's image or quality-of-life. Clear Channel, Viacom, Lamar - it doesn't matter - they are all greedy corporations based elsewhere who could give a flying **** about the place I call home. But you know, they are totally taking advantage of the rules as they now apply, so who can blame them. We all know corporate America is far more concerned about the bottom-line than benevolence.

I am in complete agreement that we need to come up with a compromise on billboards. Limit their placement, limit their height (!), limit their overall number, and limit their content... and I'll be happy. Yes, I said content. For example, do we really want to promote hard alcohol while people are driving???

The last thing I will add is this... I work in Boston regularly. Our office there has collected pictures of places all across America... Seattle - the Space Needle; San Antonio - the Alamo, Chicago - Wrigley Field, you get the point. What represented Houston in that office?? A picture of a huge billboard over an interstate advertising vasectomy reversals!!!! If people don't think that reflects an image problem for our town, I don't know what does. I insisted they replace it with a cool photo of our skyline... and they obliged. However, that (vasectomy) image will be forever ingrained in their psyche when they think of Houston.

I'm with you. There is more to life than someone making money.

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We must have heard it at the same time! 800 they said.

They were getting out of hand anyway. Good riddance! :P

You're the only one excited about this? I guess people just like to complain about it, but when something they want done actually happens, they sit back. Or maybe there's just not much to say.

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You're the only one excited about this? I guess people just like to complain about it, but when something they want done actually happens, they sit back. Or maybe there's just not much to say.

I like billboards, but I hate Clear Channel. I've never understood why some people were so opposed to billboards.

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I like billboards, but I hate Clear Channel. I've never understood why some people were so opposed to billboards.

I guess I don't mind them too much. I think what bothers me more is the disorderly of commercial signs. They're all different shape, sizes and heights. But I think the ones the article talks about them taking down are the more unpleasant ones.

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Quite the opposite! I LOVE billboards and snappy/clever slogan's. Thats what I do for a living!

It's the raunchy, tasteless, risque junk that I am happy to see tone down, thats all. In fact as I indicated on several topics, I wish we were more like what you see in NYC Times Square/Tokyo and the Las Vegas strip! Neon, high-tech imagery, etc. I can't get enough of it. One of my all time favs billboard advertising is the ones that are like gigantic venetian blinds that flip one at a time left to right as it reads out a slogan, then slowly flips in reverse. Cool stuff. I was big time impressed by sci-fi, cult film Bladerunner. The huge "live" model advertising candies, etc. Just too cool. :P

blade-runner.jpg

and I couldnt imagine the Sunset Strip & LA without billboards

lat5a23.jpgsunset_strip.jpg

Edited by Vertigo58

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As a former resident of Socal, I always loved LA's bill boards. In Houston however they seem to litter the freeways hahazardly. In LA the bill boards are well thought out and imo actually add character to the landscape.

I for one am ecstatic about this news...

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I like billboards, but I hate Clear Channel. I've never understood why some people were so opposed to billboards.

I don't know why people are so opposed to Clear Channel, but I like billboards too. They add a bit of grit and vitality to the landscape. Take them away, and it just makes the city a little bit more sterile...not unlike a master planned community in the suburbs.

One thing I would like to see are dynamic billboards. But if I recall correctly, our sign code doesn't allow it.

Edited by TheNiche

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I don't know why people are so opposed to Clear Channel, but I like billboards too.

I don't like Clear Channel because they buy political influence to loosen media ownership regulations so they can dominate markets, so they can make more money to buy more influence, so they can make more money.

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I don't like Clear Channel because they buy political influence to loosen media ownership regulations so they can dominate markets, so they can make more money to buy more influence, so they can make more money.

That a media conglomeration has a sufficiently good business model that its market share expands, I don't see a problem. When that successful enterprise runs up against a barrier to growth put in place by politicians, I don't blame them for trying to breach it. I hope that they succeed.

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As a former resident of Socal, I always loved LA's bill boards. In Houston however they seem to litter the freeways hahazardly. In LA the bill boards are well thought out and imo actually add character to the landscape.

I for one am ecstatic about this news...

Me too, West LA worked right on Wilshire Blvd, advertising city, and loved it. They had some of the best "moving" or electric billboards I have ever seen. One was like an origami-type continously In-folding billboard, way cool.

I personally like these as they seem strong and are easily seen from all directions.

onepeat_billboard.jpg

It's the sloppy advertising that only fuels the publics hatred of billboards. So sadly billboards take the bad wrap. (This is nothing compared to what we see in Houston)

clip_image002-771972.png

Edited by Vertigo58

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That a media conglomeration has a sufficiently good business model that its market share expands, I don't see a problem. When that successful enterprise runs up against a barrier to growth put in place by politicians, I don't blame them for trying to breach it. I hope that they succeed.

So you don't think the "public" airwaves should be owned by the public, but should be for sale to the highest bidder? Do you have the same opinion about public space in general?

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.

One thing I would like to see are dynamic billboards. But if I recall correctly, our sign code doesn't allow it.

Absolutely! I was in Baton Rouge a couple of weeks ago and they had some very dynamic bill boards, and i found myself wishing we had those here.

Why would our sign code prevent this seeing that their not to picky with what's currently up?

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So you don't think the "public" airwaves should be owned by the public, but should be for sale to the highest bidder? Do you have the same opinion about public space in general?

All members of the public ought to have equal access to ownership of the airwaves. Station frequencies are finite in number, so they must be efficiently rationed to those who can create the greatest value with them (i.e. the highest bidder).

Ditto on parks, roads, BLM lands, port terminals, and civic buildings. ...just about everything but military bases.

Why would our sign code prevent this seeing that their not to picky with what's currently up?

I don't know why. That's a question for your elected representatives.

Edited by TheNiche

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So you don't think the "public" airwaves should be owned by the public, but should be for sale to the highest bidder? Do you have the same opinion about public space in general?

So, we make the "public" responsible for what goes out over these "public" airwaves, but then the free speechers claim they are being censored. What then ? Make your own radio station if you don't like what is being played by the conglomerate.

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So, we make the "public" responsible for what goes out over these "public" airwaves, but then the free speechers claim they are being censored. What then ? Make your own radio station if you don't like what is being played by the conglomerate.
That's a fine option, unless all of the licenses are controlled by a handful of media companies (like Clear Channel) who pay politicians to keep everyone else off the public airwaves. See the problem?
All members of the public ought to have equal access to ownership of the airwaves. Station frequencies are finite in number, so they must be efficiently rationed to those who can create the greatest value with them (i.e. the highest bidder).
What is the value of free speech?

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That's a fine option, unless all of the licenses are controlled by a handful of media companies (like Clear Channel) who pay politicians to keep everyone else off the public airwaves. See the problem?

Are they in fact paying politicians to keep anybody off the airwaves? Or are they just expanding a successful business model?

What is the value of free speech?

Immense. But that you or I are free to speak our mind does not mean that everyone else ought to hear what we have to say. Clear Channel seeks programming that people actually want to hear, and puts that on the air.

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All members of the public ought to have equal access to ownership of the airwaves. Station frequencies are finite in number, so they must be efficiently rationed to those who can create the greatest value with them (i.e. the highest bidder).

Ditto on parks, roads, BLM lands, port terminals, and civic buildings. ...just about everything but military bases.

That's textbook Chicago School. Except why stop with military bases? If privatization is so great, why not take the logical next step to a full mercenary armed forces. Hell then we don't have to worry about the VA. Don Rumsfeld tried to go there, and look what happened to him. I think it's because Freidman's theories could never solve for an eventual public outcry over over every public asset, every public commodity (lots built with public tax dollars) being sold to the highest bidder. I'm with Meme.

Cheers,

Your friendly armchair Keynesian

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Are they in fact paying politicians to keep anybody off the airwaves? Or are they just expanding a successful business model?

Immense. But that you or I are free to speak our mind does not mean that everyone else ought to hear what we have to say. Clear Channel seeks programming that people actually want to hear, and puts that on the air.

Not all. Its always a mix. Sometimes they put out programming that majority wants to hear, sometimes its for the minority but push to the majority. That is incidentally how some monopolies work.

Whole thing reminds me of windows with internet explorer, do ppl actually want it or is it because its there vs firefox.

Edited by webdude

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That's textbook Chicago School. Except why stop with military bases? If privatization is so great, why not take the logical next step to a full mercenary armed forces. Hell then we don't have to worry about the VA. Don Rumsfeld tried to go there, and look what happened to him. I think it's because Freidman's theories could never solve for an eventual public outcry over over every public asset, every public commodity (lots built with public tax dollars) being sold to the highest bidder. I'm with Meme. Cheers,Your friendly armchair Keynesian
Privatized service and service support operations are another matter, but mercenary combatants are where I draw the line. Way too many downsides, not much benefit. And our VA obligations wouldn't even go away until all our current veterans died off; even when they did, we'd have to pay either directly or indirectly for mercenaries' benefits, or else the compensation package wouldn't be sufficient to attract enough mercenaries. It was debating the military privatization issue that prompted my conclusion that I wouldn't make a very good Libertarian.
Not all. Its always a mix. Sometimes they put out programming that majority wants to hear, sometimes its for the minority but push to the majority. That is incidentally how some monopolies work.
Forgive me for perhaps being thick-headed, but could you provide an example?

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Forgive me for perhaps being thick-headed, but could you provide an example?

Forgive me too if I didn't see the proof that all the programming are what ppl actually wanted.

Edited by webdude

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Forgive me too if I didn't see the proof that these are the programming that ppl actually wanted.

Proof is elusive, but: Evidence --> $

Edited by TheNiche

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Are they in fact paying politicians to keep anybody off the airwaves? Or are they just expanding a successful business model?

False dichotomy. Paying politicians to allow them to control more frequencies is a great business model.

Immense. But that you or I are free to speak our mind does not mean that everyone else ought to hear what we have to say. Clear Channel seeks programming that people actually want to hear, and puts that on the air.

Which is great for when the resources aren't so limited, but dangerous when they are. Would you feel the same if Clear Channel, Fox and other multi-national media conglomerates used their licenses to broadcast socialist propaganda?

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Proof is elusive, but: Evidence --> $

Proof is indeed elusive, because $ --> evidence works for the opposing view too. Enterprises are known to spend money on controlling distribution/placement in lieu of product development for greater gains down the road.

Edited by webdude

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I think it's because Freidman's theories could never solve for an eventual public outcry over over every public asset, every public commodity (lots built with public tax dollars) being sold to the highest bidder.

I think a bigger problem the Chicago School could never solve was that of negative externalities. The private cost of lobbying doesn't consider the social cost of monopolized media.

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