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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Clear Channel sells itself

From wire reports

The nation’s largest radio broadcaster has decided to adopt the strategy that it’s better to attack your own business than wait for somebody else to do it.

Clear Channel Communications Inc. is putting free recordings of programming from dozens of its stations on the Internet for downloading. Through its program syndication unit, it is also selling subscriptions to listeners who want to download archived talk shows from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others.

“If we take your best pieces of programming, brand them and put them out there, we’re going to grow our audience,” Evan Harrison, Clear Channel’s head of online music and radio, told the Wall Street Journal.

The popularity of audio files for download is growing. Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store now includes 15,000 free shows, called podcasts. Visitors have subscribed to more than 7 million, the Journal reported.

It’s too early in the game for advertisers to support a slew of downloadable programming, experts agree. But broadcasters are wary of ignoring new technology and its possible opportunities and threats, as the music industry did with Napster and some would argue radio has done with satellite broadcasting.

Whitefish, dot-com haven

Whitefish, Mont., population 6,151, has become home to a number of Internet millionaires flush with the green stuff, according to the Seattle Times.

Investors like Mark Kvamme, of Sequoia Capital, have bought land and contributed to a startling rise in property values. He told the newspaper the land he valued at $5,490 an acre two years ago is now worth $50,000 an acre. On the land, he and an executive of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. are building a 1,275-acre luxury residential development. Another Sequoia partner is building a 32,000-square-foot residence overlooking Whitefish Lake.

Investors and executives enriched by the dot-com boom are boosting property values, straining county services and putting the former railroad outpost near Glacier National Park on the road to becoming a wealthy enclave like Aspen, Colo., the Seattle Times added.

‘Spider-Man 2’ hang-ups

It’s not getting any easier for the Hollywood studios, thanks to the Web. The Los Angeles Times published a detailed story about how “Spider-Man 2” was available on DVD in Asia, hours after its June 2004 debut in New York City.

Jeff Blake, vice chairman of a Spidey distributor, Sony Pictures Entertainment, said: “No matter how much you spend on security or what precautions you take, the grim truth is once a film gets uploaded on the Internet, suddenly it’s everywhere.”

The movie industry’s trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America, estimates disc and tape counterfeiting cost the industry $3.5 billion in revenue last year.

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