Channel Communications has found itself backed into a corner following
a highly-publicised expose of a deceptive Seattle radio promotion that
promised "Just Your Favorite Superhits of the '60's and '70's," while
presenting a steady stream of 1980's singles. Online outlaw media
journalist Jack Diekobiscz lowered the boom during Clear Channel/
KJR-FM's major campaign to welcome celebrity-talent Pat Cashman to
their morning airwaves. Embarrassed by charges of lying to its audience
and re-writing music history for profit, Clear Channel quietly removed
as many as 114 songs from their playlist in an attempt to avoid
humiliation from its audience, competitors, and the news media.|
The immediate pressure came from Cashman's fan site, where Diekobiscz' news article mysteriously appeared on a message board where Cashman fans, known as "Pat Packers," had gathered to celebrate Pat's return to the airwaves after a one-year absence. A sudden flurry of e-mails prompted Case and his handlers at Clear Channel to act quickly, and remove all offending songs, as "The Pat Cashman Show" was scheduled to make its debut in less than 12 hours. KJR-FM's celebrity-studded extravaganza at Seattle's famous "Space Needle" welcomed Cashman to their morning drive slot without incident.
Despite their attempts to appease listeners, Clear Channel's problems are far from over. KJR is now under fire from Pat Cashman fans who complain that the morning announcer is being kept on a "short leash." Pat Cashman, a seasoned comic known for his sardonic wit and creative audio manipulation, has been limited to only short breaks between songs, much to the dismay of his loyal audience. Earlier this week, "Pat Packers" responded with cautious optimism at KJR's sudden willingness to give Pat the opportunity to chat on the phone with a couple of casino-circuit pop legends. It was soon revealed, however, that Pat was merely being used as a pitch-man for TICKETMASTER, a Clear Channel owned sales agency, often criticized for its inflated "service fees."
"The Pat Pack," which boasts a membership of thousands, is now following Diekobiscz' lead by organizing a "More Crap, Less Music" campaign, demanding that KJR cut the music and return the airwaves to Pat and his audience. Said one long-time Pat Pack member, "Many of us have already sent letters. Many more of us are crafting them now and will send them soon."
Whether or not KJR's unhappy listeners can make a difference at this stage of Clear Channel's game has yet to be seen. A veteran Pat Packer summed it up by stating, "It is interesting to hear about an uprising over the dates of the songs being played on KJR FM. It really says alot about the demographic. They know their music and have no problems letting station management know when they've screwed up. Makes me wonder how Pat will be received at first and how long it will take for Pat to win them over."
It is predicted that Clear Channel, KJR-FM, and Bob Case will remain silent, but increased media coverage could lead to public denial of all charges.