All Access Exclusive: Under The Tent With John Hogan
April 15, 2009 at 11:01 AM (PT)
The long-rumored CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO rollout of nationally available programming has arrived, and there naturally a lot of questions. ALL ACCESS Pres./Publisher JOEL DENVER was able to grab a few minutes with CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO Pres./CEO JOHN HOGAN, between meetings in DALLAS, to get a few candid answers.
ALL ACCESS: Are programmers operating under budgetary restrictions that make taking the "Premium Choice programming" the only option to reach their monetary goals?
JOHN HOGAN: Our programmers are all under budgetary constraints, and in this environment there is more scrutiny. The idea behind Premium Choice takes into account that there are budgetary issues and that we want to have the best programming options in every daypart at every station. This allows a programmer to make choices on a daypart-by-daypart basis, and to do so with an extremely attractive economic model in place.
There is no specific number that we are trying to get to. We are trying to equip programmers with compelling product in every format and daypart.
You have to program with your "A Game" everyday and they have economic constraints. This puts the best of the best of the best -- programming, management and imaging -- available. A station in Pensacola, FL has access to world-class talent.
ALL ACCESS: How much money is expected to be saved?
JOHN HOGAN: It depends on how much of it that PD's chose to use and what options they select. There is no specific number that we are trying to get to. We are trying to equip programmers with compelling product in every format and daypart. We are telling OMs and Market Managers that these are tough times and we have to find ways to efficiently program and win. These are excellent choices with great programming in an economically efficient model.
ALL ACCESS: Are there any similar national/regional plans for Talk stations? Rhythmic stations?
JOHN HOGAN: In the Talk arena we have many daypart choices already with RUSH, BECK, HANNITY and many others. We will be looking at all of the programming that we currently have and where we have great talent outperforming their station, we will be developing them for national programming. One of the additional benefits is that it's an institutionalized farm system to help them develop in a structured and productive way. Great for new talent and it gives them more exposure.
ALL ACCESS: Could this new community outreach be interpreted as being a swap off for losing local talent?
JOHN HOGAN: It could, but that's not correct. The reality is that we are increasing our commitment to community engagement -- connecting one-to-one on a local level with this plan. Our listeners need that connection more than ever; we see this as a way to connect in an expanded way. We are going to fundamentally shift our perspective, and this will not mean just Sunday mornings anymore. Listeners want to know what's going on in the community and we are going do it in ways that resonate for them. What we do on a Top 40 will be different from, say, a Soft AC. It will be handled format by format to meet specific needs.
ALL ACCESS: Is this plan in any way related to or responsive to the political activity regarding localism initiatives in Washington?
JOHN HOGAN: No, it's not; we feel like we have a strong foundation to build on already. This is an enhancement and expansion and goes way beyond what we are already doing. This is what we should be doing -- taking it to a higher level to keep in step with today's listeners. This will not be just Sunday morning programming to check off the box. Not some off-the-shelf religious programming. We are truly embracing the need to engage with our listeners on a community basis.