Clearing the Air?(A)
April 23, 2003
Mr. L. Lowry MaysChairman and CEOClear Channel Communications, Inc.200 E. Basse Rd.San Antonio, TX 78209
Dear Mr. Mays:
Trillium Asset Management Corporation is a leading socially responsible investment firm with $600 million in assets under management, with holdings in a number of media companies, including Clear Channel Communications, Inc. On behalf of our clients with Clear Channel shares, we are writing to share our perspective on the recent controversy concerning the appearance of artist blacklisting.
Given its increasing size and dominant position in the radio market and music industry, Clear Channel faces special scrutiny and has an obligation to use its influence responsibly and wisely. We view with great concern the allegations that the company or its radio stations have refused to play certain songs both after the tragic events of September 11 and more recently during the war with Iraq solely because of artists’ political viewpoints.
We understand that Clear Channel, unlike some of its competitors, did not adopt a corporate policy of banning play by certain artists who opposed the war in Iraq, such as the Dixie Chicks. However, the refusal of certain Clear Channel stations to play these artists is a form of blacklisting, which seems to fly in the face of our most cherished American traditions and has fueled criticism of the company both in the U.S. and international media.
We are concerned that the chilling impact of the actions of some Clear Channel affiliates will outlast the current international situation, and that this controversy may tarnish the reputation of Clear Channel for years to come. We therefore believe it is in the best long-term interest of Clear Channel and its shareholders for the company to strongly affirm the American values of freedom of expression, and to adopt a strong corporate policy asserting that artists’ political viewpoints will not be a factor in determining whether to air their music.
We applaud the company’s recent leadership example of stopping the practice of so-called “pay for play” deals with independent promoters. We feel it is similarly in the best interest of the company and its shareholders for Clear Channel to extend these values of fairness and integrity by affirming the right of freedom of expression and refusing to let its stations blacklist artists for political views.
We would appreciate a response explaining Clear Channel’s current policies relating to freedom of expression and would welcome a chance to talk with the appropriate member of Clear Channel’s senior management to further share perspectives.
Steve Lippman Senior Analyst Social Research & Advocacy
Jon VossSpecial Projects ManagerEntertainment Group
cc: Mr. Mark P. Mays, President and Chief Operating OfficerMr. Randy Palmer, Vice President – Investor RelationsMs. Diane Dalton Warren, Vice President – Communications