Clear Channel, the country's largest holder of radio stations, operates
radio stations through a front company called Concord Media Group and doesn't
count the stations in its ownership totals, according to a petition filed at the
The petition making the allegation on Friday
specifically asks the FCC to deny Clear Channel's attempt to buy WKKJ in
Chillicothe, Ohio, part of the Columbus market.
WKKJ is owned by Secret Communications but run by Concord Media, the petition says.
Documents in the petition show employment reports for
Concord Media that were filled out by Clear Channel employees.
Concord Media's company headquarters is listed as 200 East Basse Road, San
Antonio, Texas, which is Clear Channel's corporate headquarters, according to
the company's last annual report.
Rick Wolf, Clear Channel's vice president and corporate counsel, signed off on the employment documents, which were filed at the FCC.
While Clear Channel's petition to purchase WKKJ states that Clear Channel owns no other stations in the Chillicothe market, the petition says the company actually owns three out of Chillicothe's four commercial stations, with Secret-owned and Concord-run WKKJ being the fourth.
Moreover, Clear Channel owns 13 radio stations in the entire Columbus/Chillicothe market, according to the petition.
"The Commission cannot perpetuate these actions by granting any more assignment applications until it can determine just what Clear Channel owns in each market. Not only should the FCC deny this assignment application, but also the FCC and the Justice Department should seek to uncover and remedy the anticompetitive actions of Clear Channel," the petition says.
The petition was filed by Chillicothe resident David
Ringer, who buys radio advertising and is concerned that he would only be able
to work with one radio company in his market if the WKKJ purchase is approved.
Ringer is represented by by Washington attorney Arthur Belendiuk of law firm Smithwick & Belendiuk.
The petition goes further than just the Chillicothe/Columbus market, alleging that Clear Channel has similar set-ups in Youngstown, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Pensacola, Fla.; and upstate New York.
Clear Channel officials were unavailable to comment on the allegations. - Paige Albiniak