Naked City

Evil Beasts Mate on Radio?

When Fox News and Clear Channel Communications announced a new alliance last week, it was widely characterized as the convergence of two of media's evil empires. But the deal between the two conservative bastions won't impact Austin, according to local Clear Channel chief Dusty Black. It only calls for Fox to supply news updates to Clear Channel's news-talk stations. Clear Channel owns six stations in Austin, but none of them are news-talk.

Although Clear Channel's owners are well-known backers of conservative causes, the deal with Fox raises one of the ironic twists of the current radio market – Clear Channel has been one of the biggest supporters of liberal talker Air America, home of Al Franken, et al. Clear Channel has picked up the network, which still doesn't have a home in Austin, in many cities.

Black says Clear Channel considered Air America when it was contemplating the future of FM station 102.3, the former Z-102, before it was switched to the "World Class Rock" format in October. "We looked at Air America, but based on our research we decided we needed a more music-intensive format," Black said. He said Air America would be "a home run in Austin," but it "didn't fit" right now with Clear Channel's Austin strategy. (For more of the lowdown on today's Austin radio marketplace, see our cover story.)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Clear Channel, Fox News, Dusty Black, Air America

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