Antitrust Suit Filed Against Clear Channel

By | August 13, 2001 at 12:00 AM

A concert promoter in Denver has filed suit against Clear Channel Communications, alleging that the broadcasting giant has unfairly used its dominance in radio broadcasting to monopolize the live-music market.

The Associated Press reports that an antitrust suit has been filed in federal court against the nation’s largest broadcaster, Clear Channel Communications. The lawsuit is the result of Clear Channel’s $4 billion acquisition of SFX, a leading concert promotions company, which has been renamed Clear Channel Entertainment.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week in Denver by and independent music promotion company called Nobody in Particular Presents (NPP), charges that Clear Channel has engaged in “monopolistic, predatory and anti-competitive business practices.”

The promoter charged that Clear Channel refuses to play artists on its stations unless they also use Clear Channel Entertainment to promote their shows, a tactic that gives Clear Channel an unfair advantage over other promoters. Furthermore, NPP claims that it purchased ad spots promoting the Warped Tour on one of Clear Channel’s local eight Denver area stations, and furnished the station with free tickets to give to fans as part of the promotion. While the spots were scheduled during specific dayparts, NPP alleges that they were instead run late at night and early in the morning. Moreover, NPP claims that the tickets intended for on-air giveaways were actually given to Clear Channel employees.

Clear Channel denies the accusations: “Our airplay decisions are made completely independent of concert bookings,” Mike O’Connor, head programmer for Denver’s Clear Channel stations, told the Denver Rocky Mountain News. Further, the company reported last spring, “The synergy between Clear Channel and SFX, especially in Denver, has been nothing but spectacular. Denver is becoming a model for how successful it can be.”

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