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Clear Channel CEO Apologizes For DJs' Anti-Cyclist Remarks
Tue Nov 11, 2003

After Clear Channel radio listeners and advertisers in three cities protested the anti-cyclist rhetoric of morning DJs, John Hogan, president and chief executive officer of the 1,200-station company, apologized to cyclists at large. Hogan wrote a letter to Elissa Margolin, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, distancing Clear Channel's official stance from the DJs' anti-cyclist jokes. Clear Channel also began running pro-cyclist public service message on a few of its stations.

"As CEO of Clear Channel Radio, I do not support or condone the anti-cyclist messages and have taken steps to insure they do not occur again," Hogan wrote.

Margolin traveled to Clear Channel's San Antonio headquarters to meet with Hogan Nov. 5.

Radio talk show hosts in Cleveland, Ohio, Houston, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina recently joked about ways to injure or irritate cyclists while driving.

Lois Cowan, owner of Century Cycles in Cleveland, has been on the offensive since radio DJs in her area encouraged motorists to do things like throw rolls of pennies at cyclists or open car doors into their path. Clear Channel executives in Cleveland met with Cowan and promised to support cycling through messages on their station.

In Raleigh, two local businesses including a Ford dealership pulled their ads from the local Clear Channel station after a DJ laughed on-air about stories of motorists assaulting cyclists. Raleigh station officials said they would produce a series of bicycle-safety messages, but instead aired a spoof message, according to an area paper.

Clear Channel officials said in all cases that the comments were not meant to be taken seriously. However, the company did fire its Houston producer. And all three stations are now running public service announcements for drivers about bicycle safety.

The company has promoted more than 100 cycling events since 2002. The company put together a team for a "Bike to the Beach" ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christi to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Margolin said found her meeting with Hogan heartening.

"The League is pleased with the response from Clear Channel Radio. The comments broadcast on stations in Cleveland, Houston and Raleigh were indeed egregious, but the company's redress has been aggressive and the measures taken to prevent any reoccurrence are heartening," Margolin said. "Hogan has clearly demonstrated that any programming that endangers cyclists will not be tolerated and we applaud his leadership on this issue. We are particularly pleased that Clear Channel will work with the bicycling community to help make America's roads safer
for everyone."

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