Last week, during Clear Channel’s “National Firing Day”, CC Houston exercised the buyout clause on Walton & Johnson contract. The duo report they were told that the ratings and revenue were OK but CC was taking the station in "another direction".
In an eMail to David Barron at The Houston Chronicle, Walton & Johnson elaborated further…
“Of course we are not going anywhere. This is our home town, we were born and raised in
Houston. We have 11 years invested in our current run and several hundred thousand die-hard followers who are awaiting our new location. We have over performed in every adverse situation that we have inherited here.
“When CC (Clear Channel Radio, which owns KKRW) flipped KLOL Spanish they assumed we would take our network flagship down the road, Instead we popped up on the Cumulus station with no signal in half of the Houston metro (103.7) and against all odds had the morning show there in the top 5 on a regular basis. When asked to come back to CC when they relaunched KPRC…”experts” predicted there was no way we could generate an audience on AM…they were wrong again when we often had that station in the top 5. Since we moved from that station it hasn’t cracked the top 25.
“When they asked us to move down the hall and replace the morning show on KKRW we were reluctant because they wanted to insert old rock songs into our show and run a sort of “Frankenstein” version of the show that was different from every other market in which we dominate. We were forced to accept this wrong headed approach because we had allowed such language in our CC contract with our company. We were never allowed to air our actual show (that other markets were having record success with) and even then we roundly vanquished the Cox station head to head direct competition for about two years solid even though they spent a couple million dollars in TV ads and promotion while CC spent not one dime in defense. Cox did not start winning some measurement periods until they discovered the wonderful wrinkle in Arbitron’s PPL technology of putting duplicate programming on two stations and having it measured and reported as one. Admittedly a brilliant strategy if you have an extra station to give up.
“When Eddie Martiny (Clear Channel’s
Houstonmarket manager) informed us that CC had decided to exercise the buyout clause of our contract we asked “Was it the ratings”? He said no…”Was it the revenue”? No. He said “I will only say we are taking the station in another direction”.
“We strongly suspect it had a lot to do with the very big debt situation CC is currently dealing with, as you may be aware there were massive firings on Dec 6th at CC in markets all over the country. We will keep the faithful posted at waltonandjohnson.com, on our popular Facebook site, and Twitter. We should announce our new address during the next 30 days. The show continues to dominate in
New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Biloxi/Gulfport, Alexandria, Shreveport, Temple/Killeen, Hattiesburg, and starting to make great progress in Austin, Ft Smith, Rome, GA, Blacksburg, and announcing three new markets in January.”