Clear Channel Goes Pirate


Stay Free!'s Carrie McLaren reports:

It's official: even Clear Channel is sick of Clear Channel. The company has set up a fake pirate radio station in Akron, Ohio, which it's using to hurl insults at other Clear Channel stations. For about a week, Radio Free Ohio has feigned overthrowing Ohio's media monopoly by bleeding its broadcasts into other Clear Channel stations….

The station was outed by someone at WOXY, who looked up the Radio Free domain name and saw that it was owned by Clear Channel in San Antonio.

This isn't the first time a perfectly legal station has posed as a pirate outfit, but these faux "interruptions" of the company's other broadcasts take the con to a new level. I don't know whether I'm impressed or appalled.

NEXT: Resolved: Sensenbrenner Is a Bonehead

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  1. I knew a guy who ran a pirate radio station for years. His secret? Only broadcast in the winter time when the goons are too lazy to go out and the cold and find him.

    He broadcasted in the summer for a while, and that was the end of it. They showed up, confiscated his equipment, and gave him a stiff fine.

    Last I heard though, on a cool autumn night, you can sometimes hear his profanity laced drunken rants just a tweak of the knob from a local religious station.

  2. “I don’t know whether I’m impressed or appalled.”

    Sort of like the way a deer feels about those growing lights and low hum, eh Jesse?

  3. It just goes to show how throughly Americans idealize “rebellion.” Even the suits have to pretend that they’re the ones trying to overthrow the suits.

  4. CC did another stunt a few years ago with one of their radio personalities. The so-called controversial host was “banned” due to comments he made about a certain Cincinnati baseball player, but as it turned out, he just went on vacation. Idiots.

  5. I’ll be impressed when CC manages to wipe itself out….

  6. I liked this idea better when it was called The Who Sell Out, and, you know, wasn’t idiotic.

  7. What exactly would the benefit be to CC to do this?

  8. Been there, done that, nuff said, see 100.3 KQLZ in Los Angeles. That station has long since gone off the air and the “pirate” gimmick didn’t last that long. If CC tries to snag this one as an “original” idea, they’re even more full of crap that already assumed.

    For any other 80’s nostalgia rockers, the Pirate “lives on” thanks to streaming media technology here.

  9. The benefit to CC is that word of mouth about these outrageous pirate broadcasts “jamming” mainstream radio induces lots of people to turn in out of curiosity in hopes of catching one of the “illicit” interruptions.

  10. My first thought was that it was intended to cast pirate radio in a bad light and build up public opposition to it. Because if pirate stations stay in their own frequency range, then it’s hard to get people angry at them, but if they start interrupting your favorite shows on another station, then it becomes aggravating.

  11. Ranger: Did KQLZ pretend to jam other stations’ broadcasts? The fake-pirate gimmick has been done more than once, but the fake-interference business is new to me.

  12. Has anyone else looked at the “Radio Free Ohio” website? It looks like it was designed by drunk monkeys with an affinity for “extreme” marketing. I especially like the use of courier new for that “old skool” feel. Way to go, clear channel.

  13. Did Clear Channel then use the “pirate” frequency to launch a new station? Recently Cumulus has been running TV103 in Houston. 103.7 was playing TV theme songs. 24 hours a day. No commercials. It would fade in and out, meaning that anyone you told about it would miss it, and think you’re nuts. It’s now a mirror for a major station.

  14. Bubba: It looks like the new station’s going to launch on Tuesday.

  15. How retarded. As a Clevelander/Northeastern Ohioan, I can testify that this is sadly par for the course for radio in this area. A few years back, I think when I was in highschool, there was a long-standing commerical radio station (WMMS “The Buzzard”) that threatened to close down forever due to reduced listenership. They actually made pains to annouce the closing of their station numerous times well in advance, so as to give their listeners notice of their demise. Of course, it was all just a big lie in order to renew interest in their crappy station. Essentially they were “crying wolf” to improve their ratings. The sick thing is, by that time in my life (again, I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was still very young), I had already cultivated such a deep distrust of corporate and mainstream media, that I guessed correctly all along that it was a big ploy. And I was right. What a bittersweet victory for me. It’s sickening, really. I’m not sure if that particular station had been bought by Clear Channel at the time of that hoax, but they are owned by them now.

    What I don’t understand is how they would think that pulling a dirty trick like that on a listening audience would increase their ratings. It just ended up really pissing me off for being lied to, and I think that’s about the time that I stopped listening to their crappy drivel. Thank god for college radio.

  16. What exactly would the benefit be to CC to do this?

    Hey, sometimes it’s just fun to dress up and pretend you’re a pirate.

    Trust me on this.

  17. September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day–don’t miss it.

  18. Sounds about as genuine as Clear Channel’s “patriotism” exhibited on their country stations. Frequent playing of the national anthem, etc.

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