Taking Charge of Your PR Program

So, if you don’t like the way your company is being portrayed in the media — maybe someone’s writing a tell-all book focusing on only the things your company has done wrong — then take your PR program into your own hands…like Clear Channel did.

This from the Wall Street Journal:

In 2005, radio-giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. learned that a writer named Alec Foege was planning a book about it. The book’s working title, “The Monster That Ate Mass Media,” suggested something less than a puff piece was in the works.

Clear Channel mounted a counteroffensive, lining up its own writer to tell the Clear Channel story its way.

As a result, dueling books about Clear Channel have recently hit the shelves. Mr. Foege’s book — now titled “Right of the Dial: The Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio” — chronicles the company’s role in the consolidation of the radio industry.

It competes with “Clear Vision: The Story of Clear Channel Communications,” by Reed Bunzel, former editor of the trade magazine Radio Ink. Mr. Bunzel says Clear Channel paid him to do the book but declines to say how much. Another journalist says he was offered more than $100,000 to take on the project. The book doesn’t disclose Mr. Bunzel’s financial relationship with Clear Channel, but careful readers may notice that the company holds the copyright to the book.

Self-published corporate histories aren’t unusual. But Peter Hawes, editorial director of Greenwich Publishing, a publisher specializing in corporate histories, says he has “never seen a situation in which a company has said, ‘Hey, there’s another book coming out. We don’t think we’re going to like it. Let’s get our own book out.’ ” He also says he doesn’t disapprove of the strategy as long as the company includes its missteps alongside its accomplishments.

What’s to disapprove of? Let the book buying public decide!

clear channel books

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