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Clear Channel wants to work with bike community

Posted by on September 4th, 2008 at 11:42 am

New Share the Road billboards-39.jpg
Clear Channel has 20 of these
billboards up in the Portland area.
(Photo © J. Maus)

A few days ago, I shared a story about the new “Share the Road” billboard campaign in Portland.

As I suspected in that story, the billboards are the work of the Portland-based office of Clear Channel Outdoor. The manager of that office is Brad Parsons. I spoke with Brad the other day to learn more about the origin and plans of Clear Channel’s Share the Road campaign.

According to Parsons, he wanted to get involved after reading about a recent spate of headline-grabbing bike/car run-ins; “I thought, what could we do as a company?”

“As a corporate citizen, we have an opportunity to serve the public and I thought it was an important message.”
– Brad Parsons, Clear Channel Outdoor

Parsons realized they had some unsold billboard inventory and figured that billboards were a perfect vehicle to reach both drivers and riders.

“As a corporate citizen,” he said, “we have an opportunity to serve the public and I thought it was an important message.” Parsons asked around the office (which includes a few bike commuters as well as car drivers) and they decided that ‘Share the Road’ was, “an important message whether you drive, bike, or walk.”

As for the graphic design, Parsons said he’s read the critiques here on BikePortland but says they just wanted to make it as “basic as possible”. “We wanted to keep it simple and put out the clean message to just Share the Road.”

Parsons says the billboards will be up from anywhere from one to four weeks at any specific location and that they’ll be removed as the boards sell to a paying customer.

But, during our conversation, Parsons was enthusiastic about continuing to work with the bike community on traffic safety campaigns.

He said he’s open to someone continuing this campaign by purchasing the “paper” (what the graphic is printed on) and applying their logo. The paper would cost $50-80 a piece and Parsons says he would not charge for the billboard rental (usual price is about $1,000 a month).

If any business owners or non-profit groups out there want to sponsor one of these billboards to help keep this campaign going, get in touch with Clear Channel Outdoor in Portland by calling (503) 232-3111 and ask for Brad.

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Comments
  • K'Tesh September 4, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I\’ve got a few ideas for brad… I\’ll give him a call

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  • T Williams September 4, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Huh. This activity from Clear Channel is, in my opinion, is a great improvement over their corporate antics in the past. For example.

    I welcome this change, and if Mr. Parsons is reading these comments, maybe we readers can offer suggestions for other \”share the road\” billboard slogans.

    \”Share The Road. More Bikes = Less Traffic.\”

    I dunno… I\’ve got nuthin\’.

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  • Krampus September 4, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Ohhh, so 80 bucks and you can get your own logo slapped on one of these billboards? That\’s not bad at all! I\’d love to create some fake organization to sponsor one of them. Just imagine riding/driving past the huge orange \”Share The Road\” sign, then doing a doubletake as you read the logo on the corner of the billboard: \”Fixies are the new rollerblades!\”

    (had to) :p

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  • matt picio September 4, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    This sounds like an IDEAL project for the BTA. Low-cost, high potential impact.

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  • bahueh September 4, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Hey T Willians…more bikes is hardly \”less traffic\”…just \”different traffic\”…aren\’t we all supposed to be traffic?

    so confusing, I know..

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  • Cøyøte September 4, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Man I hate billboards, and I think using public money makes many public service announcements a little too Big Brother for my taste. However, I applaud Clear Channel for devoting a little something back to the city. Nice job!

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  • Hart September 4, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    This almost makes up for the millions of people that were killed in large part to Clear Channels relentless marketing of the invasion/occupation of Iraq.

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  • michael September 4, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Yeah, in addition to their above mentioned actions, they\’ve played arguably the largest role in the monopolization of the radio music industry — meaning we\’ve got them to thank for the relentless proliferation of top-40 crap that we\’re now subjected to over the public airwaves. They\’re horrible.

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  • Aaron September 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    in addition to the above comments Clear Channel also hosted several bike-hating DJs for which they got a lot of flack (http://bikeportland.org/2006/08/22/questions-linger-around-radio-show-saga/)
    I also agree with Coyote that billboards are ruinous to a city.
    But on the plus side it\’s a fantastic deal.

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  • Pete September 4, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Despite not being a fan of either billboards or media conglomerates for many reasons, this is better than seeing the other crap that\’s often up there. Mr. Parsons seems guided by good community ethics here, and I like that he\’s subscribed to the k.i.s.s. principle with the graphic design.

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  • T Williams September 4, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    @ bahueh #9,

    Touche ;). You know, your comment made me think of something that might corroborate this rash of stop sign/red light running/general rude behavior we\’ve been exposed too lately:

    What if these \”rouges\” are newly converted drivers? Get it?

    /tongueincheek

    Oh, and I do soooo like how memories are long around here re: Clear Channel & poor corporate behavior.

    Now, do we forgive & forget, or continue to rake them over the coals?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) September 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    just to clarify, Jammin 95.5 is not a Clear Channel station.

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  • Donald September 4, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    I\’m so conflicted…

    Can I hate Dominoes and still cheer the local franchise owner who lives down the street and has really fixed up that old house?

    OK, nice billboard. Thanks.

    But, yeah, billboards blow and so do the horse they rode in on.

    Nothing personal, man. I\’m just beginning to grapple with this local angle.

    I won\’t be buying pizza from the neighbor any time soon, but I\’m happy to see my kids play with his kids.

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  • Rich Wilson September 4, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    How about this for a related link?

    http://bikeportland.org/2006/07/14/local-radio-show-promotes-hatred-toward-cyclists/

    Which I found in Bob Mionske\’s \”Bicycling and the Law\”, where talks about a few other Clear Channel station cases.

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  • Evan September 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    The law is the law and until it changes, we will have billboards. I don\’t like them any more than anyone else, but if Clear Channel is willing to do a community service with an otherwise unsold billboard, that\’s a good thing. If anything, it\’s a sure sign that attitudes are slowly changing, and bicycles are being recognized as legitimate transportation outside our own community. Thanks.

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  • Joe Adamski September 4, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    lipstick on a pig.

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  • bobcycle September 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Today, under one of those signs (Share the Road!) on MLK near Columbia Blvd. I saw a Portland Police officer get on his loudspeaker and direct a cyclist to leave the road and stop obstructing traffic. There are 2 lanes in each direction here and if I am not mistaken a cyclist can use the lane to travel as long as he stays to the right, which this cyclist was doing. He had a trailer on his bike and was a bit wide so he should probably have taken the entire lane, but the Police ordered him onto the sidewalk. Welcome to the Platinum Bike City, Portland! So is it me or the officer who is uninformed on correct traffic laws here? If its me, I apologize and stand corrected, if it was the officer I wonder why he was uninformed?

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  • John P September 4, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    It seems to me that Clear Channel Outdoor may be under different management than Clear Channel Radio. If our problem is with DJs and not the Outdoor branch, let\’s not judge and lose a good oportunity with these boards. I\’m with Donald on the Domino\’s theory, however, if KFC serves me a rat, I won\’t stop eating at Taco Bell.

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  • Eileen September 4, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Hmmm… I would not start hating a media company for allowing hosts I find offensive. I would be more worried if every show they had was stuff I agreed with. (That speech which you find most despicable is the speech that most needs protecting.) Not that I think clearchannel is wonderful and I would much prefer all the stations were independent, but with the price of an FCC license, who can afford to own a radio station except corporations and the very rich?

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  • John Russell September 4, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Does buying the actual paper keep it from being purchased, or what? If they\’re up for a few weeks now, how long would they be up if a business purchased them?

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  • Lisa September 4, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Hey, Jonathan, are you getting cramped for space? I only commented that I thought that they had placed the car too close to the bike on the poster..just an advocate for the 3-foot rule. How does that warrant deletion?

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  • jim September 5, 2008 at 12:15 am

    bobcycle

    Did the guy have a line of cars behind him? Trucks and farm vehicles have to pull over for that reason if they are holding up traffic. Personally if I had a trailer I would g down a side st. and avoid MLK. I\’m suprised they let him on the sidewalk

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  • Marc September 5, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Clear channel has been destroying community-controlled media here in Portland and everywhere. Period.

    These are the same folks that recently refused to place an ad for the Iraqi Children’s Campaign stating \”Every Child Matters\” (while having no problem putting up ads against abortion and for the troops.)

    Their 1998 and 2004 lawsuits against the city of Portland forced murals and other public art to be treated like billboard advertising. This has suffocated the mural and public art scene.

    They are a huge media conglomerate that gobbles up the airwaves, removes local DJs and only plays the songs the big music industry pays them to.

    And by the way, to use the analogy, if KFC and Taco Bell\’s parent corporation can pay its executives exuberant amounts of money, but refuses pay the laborers who pick their tomatoes a decent living wage, then its obvious that its all infested.

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  • Bill Board September 5, 2008 at 11:11 am

    jammin\’ 95.5 doesn\’t exist anymore…

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  • joeb September 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I heard Thom Hartmann mention just yesterday that Clear Channel is now owned by Mitt Romney\’s former company Bain Capital. No relevance of course… just interesting.

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  • Len September 8, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I just heard on the radio that Clear Channel Outdoor is buying legislation that allows them to cut down publicly owned trees that get in the way of their billboards. Isn\’t it ironic that the billboard has a tree in it and that there isn\’t a silhouette of a guy with a chainsaw?

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