Laid off Clear Channel executive Gabe Hobbs starts his own media company
Nine months after he was laid off by Clear Channel Radio, the man who discovered Glenn Beck and Lionel has launched his own consulting company, hanging up a shingle to do on his own what he once spent 25 years implementing for the nation's largest radio company.
Gabe Hobbs Media will handle everything from coaching radio talent to developing programming ideas, with a client list that already includes the Tampa Bay Rays, Todd "MJ" Schnitt, The Dave Ramsey Show and former rival CBS Radio.
Hobbs, 53, was likely the most senior executive laid off by Clear Channel in January when it cut over 1,800 jobs in a mass downsizing some called the Inauguration Day Massacre. Now that he's on his own, he acknowledges the irony of pitching himself as the solution to radio's ills, when he was one of the guys who helped build the current radio system.
"Look at my track record; up until radio got itself in trouble in the last three years, I think I was known for being an innovator as far as developing new talent and trying new things," said Hobbs, who gave a Connecticut Top 40 DJ by the name of Glenn Beck a shot in Tampa to try hosting a talk show nine years ago. "Once the economics stopped working in radio, guys like me were really handcuffed."
Already, he's taken a look at the Tampa Bay Rays radio broadcasts, helping them learn how to work differently now that new ratings measurement technology is in place. And he's finding, ironically, that all the job slashing in radio makes the market for his service even bigger.
"There's not enough people in radio left to work with the talent that is there," said Hobbs. "You've got guys who were programming one station now forced to program six or seven. they don't have time to really focus...but, in time, they realize, it really is all about the talent."