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A History of Outdoor Advertising

Don't Miss this if Out of Home is Your Profession

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A History of Outdoor Advertising

I discovered a chronology of Outdoor Advertising recounting the history of OOH through the lens of Foster and Kleiser Outdoor.  You will want to read this if Out of Home is your career.  It is an amazing narrative of Foster and Kleiser, which is today’s Clear Channel Outdoor, while listing milestones in #OOH.
It covers more than F&K or CCO.  Be sure to move past the initial descriptive dialogue, some of which we have removed for brevity, and go to the chronology section starting in 1871 with photos of Walter Foster and George Kleiser.

It lists remarkable moments in Out of Home history citing ‘firsts’ in Outdoor Advertising. Firsts, like the introduction of 24 and 30 sheet posters, the standardization of structures, illumination, mapping, transit, the bombing of a plant office by 60’s underground antiwar Weatherman, computer painting and formation of  #OAAA and TAB, now #Geopath.

Leave ample time to read, as its long, yet full of detailed information on the subject as OOH professionals we love.

Joseph R. Blackstock

It was compiled by Joseph R. Blackstock, in 1986; updated 1999; then updated last in 2005 by Clear Channel Outdoor crediting Tony Alwincurrently Regional Creative & Marketing Director – OUTFRONT Media. You can find a similar history here ⇒ Clear Channel Outdoor history




FOSTER and KLEISER – The History of Outdoor Advertising

It has been one hundred years since Walter Foster left the bicycle racing sporting life of San Francisco to begin selling outdoor advertising space for Thomas H.B. Varney in Oakland.
He met dentist George Kleiser a year later in 1898. The two young men became friends and were soon planning an outdoor advertising partnership which became the Foster and Kleiser Company.
The attached chronology notes some of the significant company events occurring since then. It includes years of operations by the founding Foster and Kleiser partners-and later owners-the W.R. Grace Co., Metromedia, Patrick Media, G.E. Capital, to the present Eller Media Company.
This historic time line, spanning the days of Walter Foster to Karl Eller a century later, was first compiled in 1986 and has been updated to 2005.



Walter Foster born September 30 in Vallejo, California.

George Kleiser born June 25 in Cloverdale, California.
Walter Foster begins selling outdoor advertising for Thomas H. B. Varney in Oakland, Ca.
Walter Foster and George Kleiser meet in San Francisco. They become friends and soon consider idea of outdoor business partnership.
Total of 8,000 autos registered in United States.
Foster and Kleiser open for business in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.
Foster and Kleiser incorporated.
Wright brothers make first airplane flight.
Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham plants added to Pacific Northwest territory.
New Portland office and operating facility opened at 5th & Everett Streets. New Seattle office and plant opens at 8th & Virginia St.
San Francisco earthquake and fire.
U.S. Population is 83,000,000
First Model T Ford sold.
There are now 400,000 autos registered in America.
• First company motor vehicle purchased. A truck. • Enlarged Portland branch building opened at 7th & Everett.• George Kleiser begins campaign for national standardization of outdoor structures at Poster Advertising Association Convention.
• George Kleiser elected President of Associated Billposters and Distributors Association.• Company displays first individualized AA lOx25 24 sheet poster structure in America.
• Conversion of ‘horse wagons’ operating equipment to auto truck begins.• Foster and Kleiser acquires and operate Alhambra Theater in Seattle.
Foster and Kleiser open new Columbia moving picture theater in Portland, Oregon.
George Kleiser elected Vice President of Outdoor Advertising Association.
Acquire J. Charles Green plants in San Francisco Establish new General Office headquarters there.
Illuminated outdoor advertising service begins on Market Street in San Francisco.
• Classic U.S. Tires “history book’ I ‘ free form painted bulletins appear near historical landmarks featured.• Horticultural department formed. Landscaping of deluxe painted bulletins begins. Many have gardens park like settings.• F&K artists assist in forming camouflage unit for service in World War I military and civilian projects.• Company advertising facilities mobilized for war service recruiting, Liberty Bond sales rationing bulletins etc.
Acquire Thomas H. B. Varney plants in Los Angeles and Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda. Oakland Branch opens at 13th & Webster. Los Angeles Branch begins at 230 S. San Pedro Street near Civic Center.
Post World War I Expansion
• F&K service now covers six key markets in California, Oregon and Washington.• Company cited by President Wilson and US War Department for outstanding service during World War I.
• LA Branch office and operating plant moved from San Pedro Street to 1550 W. Washington Blvd.• Preferred stock issue placed on market. Proceeds used to purchase additional facilities.
Sacramento territory acquired from Caswell Co. and W.R. Funk.
• San Francisco Branch and General Offices moved to new location at 1675 Eddy Street (at Pierce).• Purchase Long Beach facilities from H. B. Whited.
• Special department formed to paint walls and do sign shop work. Named ‘country department’.• Fresno territory acquired from Griffin Service and William G. Fahy Co.• First photo departments started in larger branches.
• F&K acquires San Diego and Arizona territory from McClintock.• Short handle method of billposting begins ending long handle use.
New York sales office opened.• First 12×25 poster panels with three foot green bottom lattice installed. Dry brush, non wrinkle type posting in use. • Poster Advertising Association and Outdoor Advertising Associations merge. The two national trade organizations become Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

• Foster and Kleiser now operating service in 600 cities and towns in California, Oregon, Washington and Arizona.• Now San Diego office/operating plant opened at Columbia & Juniper.
• Chicago sales office established.• Begin zone system in setting up equalized poster showings and guaranteed net advertising circulation values in all markets.
• Paint factory established in San Francisco. Will test and manufacture all bulletin colors.• Painted bulletin with triangular shaped moving sections provide three design copy changes for LaSalle cars.
• Chicago sales office opened in Wrigley Building, Central Manufacturing plant opens in San Francisco. Will produce sections, lattice, moldings etc.• Traffic flow maps showing vehicular volume patterns in all major cities printed.
The Depression Times
• George Kleiser elected President of OAAA (served five years)• First rotating painted bulletin service begins in Portland Branch.• Foster and Kleiser “Garden Clubs of The Air” begin broadcasting on Sunday mornings over Don Lee Columbia Pacific Coast Network radio.• Oxydol poster designed by F&K artist Marshall Reid judged Best Poster of 1930 by Chicago Art Directors.
F&K plays decisive role in forming O.A.I. national sales organization. Company extends complete recognition to general advertising agencies.
• Pontiac poster designed by F&K artist Otis Shepard judged Best Poster of 1932 by Chicago Art Directors.• Live models on Paramount Pictures movie promotional bulletin creates traffic jams on Wilshire Blvd. Harpo Marx and Marlene Dietrich cause mob scene on night bulletin unveiled.
• Country Department renamed “Special Paint Branch”.• F&K leads formation of Traffic Audit Bureau. Factors and formulas for development of 12 and 18 hour counts tested in F&K territories. 
F&K painters change hourly Dow Jones averages figures on Montgomery street painted bulletin in San Francisco’s financial district.
• New streamlined ‘art deco’ painted bulletin structures introduced.• Monthly seasonal variation traffic counts begin in all branch cities.
• First traffic origin study completed at 9th & Alameda, Los Angeles.• Recapitalization Plan for Company stock completed.• Special large scale models made for new San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge.
New presentation rooms featuring large electrically spotted maps for illustration of poster showing coverage opened in major branch cities and New York/Chicago sales offices.
• “Know The Values” merchandising booklets featuring authenticated market values for each poster showing first published.• Experimental 9 sheet pasting units first displayed in Los Angeles.
F&K produced model of new San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge displayed at Worlds Fair in San Francisco.
Company booklet, “Forty Years in Advertising” published.
World War II Activities
F&K hosts OAAA Golden Anniversary Convention in Los Angeles.
• Company World War II activities include recruiting, civilian defense and war bond promotions. Production of camouflage for civilian and military projects begin. Protective concealment of Boeing Aircraft Plant in Seattle is largest camouflage project ever completed in history of war.• War time coverage allotments in effect. Plans provides additional poster panels for each showing. • Lee DeForest, famed “Father of radio”
aids company in developing device for turning off outdoor advertising illumination during air raid ‘blackouts’.
War activities expanded to include manufacturing of boxes and containers for Military shipments overseas. Adobe brick production also begins at military request.
• Walter Foster died January 13th.• Time Magazine features Foster and Kleiser war effort activities.• New posting procedure applying paste on posters at the truck started.
• Caladobe Department begins production and sale of adobe bricks for residential and commercial buildings.• At World War II end, 144 F&K employees in military service. Four were killed in war action. • LA Times “Headline” painted bulletin wins top national award for beat media promotion. Headline changed every day during World War II.Post War Growth and Change
• First issues of new employee publication, “Our News” appear.• “Blentone” process posters perfected. It features delicate blending of colors and tones.• “Ad Andy” adopted as F&K company trademark character.• Loewy poster panel adopted as new 24 sheet structure.• Results of F&K sponsored Sacramento Study researching outdoor advertising awareness published.• Power driven boom trucks developed to lift posting and paint section into position on location.
• Gil Haynes becomes President. George Kleiser is Chairman of Board.• Industrial Painting and Decorating Division begins operation. First assignments include painting of Governor’s Mansion in Sacramento.• Creative book titled “Poster Design” by Walter Warde distributed to clients, agencies and art schools. Copies in all libraries on West Coast.• Construction departments begin using motor driven mechanical post hole diggers.• Cyril Wright previews his new company sales presentation, “Case of The Reluctant Dollar.”• Light aluminum posting scaffolding and stages produced for use on new Loewy panels• Caladobe adobe brick department sold to J.E.Dietrich in Fresno. • Reflective Scotchlite introduced as night embellishment for highway bulletins in Arizona and California.
• New posting pick up trucks replace traditional closed panel vehicles.• Coloring book for children published. Featuring “Ad Andy in Outdoorland”, it is distributed to schools and day nurseries throughout West Coast.• Public relations booklet “Messages For Millions” published.• Industrial paint departments commissioned to paint super sized murals for drive in movies throughout Los Angeles.
• Three alarm fire destroys Oakland Branch operating area.• Loewy poster panels modified. New lighter stainless steel moldings replaces porcelain enamel materials.• IBM department established at General Office to centralize accounting procedures.
• F&K creates ‘teaser’ painted bulletin campaign “Consult An Advertising Agency.” Was cited favorably by American Assc. of Advertising Agencies membership.• Black Light painted bulletins combining fluorescent paint and ultraviolet light introduced.• New Company 35mn slide sales training presentation, “The Outdoor Story” released. 50th Anniversary & W.R. Grace Ownership
• 50th Anniversary observed. Eleven branches, 30 operating bases, 1,500 employees, take part in celebration.• Company pictorial artists complete world’s largest outdoor painting (1,575 sq. ft) for Howard Hughes movie.
• George Kleiser dies November 30.• Company sold to W.R. Grace Co.• Seattle and Tacoma branches consolidated into single Seattle unit.• Karl Eller begins outdoor advertising career joining Company as lease man in Phoenix Branch.
• Sahara bulletin features real swimming pool and live bathing beauties. Comedian Red Skelton leaps into pool to publicize opening of his act in Las Vegas. In the start of famed Sunset Strip entertainment bulletin displays.• Engineers test new Fiberglass moldings for poster panels.• Boom trucks utilized to move rotating paint sections, cutouts etc.
• Jackman painted bulletin at Wilshire & Virgil, Los Angeles, features no molding format with cut out extensions.• Hydraulic elevators used in paint studios to facilitate painting at all levels.
• Durable lightweight Fiberglass molding adopted for poster panels.• Sun reflecting “Dancing Discs” embellishment appear on Hamms beer bulletin in San Jose.• Gil Haynes retires. L.H. Odell becomes President.

• New slimline fluorescent lighting tested and adopted for poster panels. First unit so lighted on Magnolia Ave. in Long Beach.• Foster and Kleiser featured on KGO TV program “Success Story” in San Francisco.• Extra size 30 sheet posters become popular. Extensively used this year.• “F&K Imprint”, new company publication, published.• F&K hosts 59th Annual Convention of OAAA in Los Angeles.• Pabst illuminated revolving prisms first used as painted bulletin embellishment.
• Front of Los Angeles Branch modernized with new steel porcelain enamel face. Has concrete lower exterior, translucent glass panels and the new round F&K logo.• Imperial Valley Yuma markets added to San Diego branch territory.• New Phoenix branch building opened.
Imperial Valley Market facilities sold to Outdoor Lighting Inc.
• W.R. Grace announces sale of Foster and Kleiser to Metropolitan Broadcasting Co. (12/11/59.• Neon embellished poster panels displayed in Los Angeles.• Detroit sales office established.• Operating departments develop and begin use of two way radio communication.Metromedia Era Begins F&K Goes National
A.C. Nielsen Study completed. Developed first reach and frequency figures for outdoor.• New Los Angeles paint studio opened.
• Ross Barrett named President.• Single post unitized construction of Poster panels begins. Prefabricated panels are hoisted into place by boom truck.• LA Metro zones Coverage Plan announced (for 1962)• A.C. Nielsen Study completed in San Francisco and Oakland.• Pre pasting of posters in billrooms begins.• First printed bulletin displayed.
• Phoenix and Fresno branch territories sold to Karl Eller then forming Eller Outdoor Advertising Co.• Long Beach Branch closed.• New San Diego and Seattle branch buildings completed.• San Joaquin Valley area facilities sold to Ryan. Indio Palm Springs area plant sold to Bob.Leonard.• Company facilities in Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara sold to Purcell.• First mobile panels used for merchandising and public relations.• First modern “multivision” painted bulletin displayed in Sacramento. Triangular sections permit display of three different designs on single unit.• IBM Computer system installed for all accounting operations.• A.C. Nielsen Study completed in Seattle.
• San Diego North Interior Market sold.• Foster and Kleiser begins operation of Chicago and New York outdoor plants formerly owned by General Outdoor.
• Second A.C. Nielsen Study conducted in Los Angeles Orange County Market. First to reveal complementary values of combined outdoor/television campaigns.• New Northern California Regional headquarters opened in Oakland.
• Packer Outdoor facilities acquired in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Salt Lake City.• F&K supports passage into law of Highway Beautification Act of 1965.• Study of Children’s Outdoor Readership conducted by Poster Appraisal Service for F&K in Los Angeles and New York.• First aerial photographic study measuring and comparing freeway and surface street traffic volume takes place in Los Angeles.• New Chicago Regional office opened on Morgan Street.
• Automated printing of IBM Verified Poster Location Lists begins. System provides instantaneous printing of location lists for all showings.• Alfred Politz Awareness Studies conducted in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.• New Regional Operating Center opened in Maspeth, New York.• A.C.Neilsen Study completed in New York.
• Company’s new motion picture, “Adman’s Dilemma” released. The David Wolper production starred Jonathan Winters.• Public Exhibition of famous Ervine Metzel Collection posters held in major cities.• F&K publishes complete Outdoor Advertising Manual.
• Los Angeles headquarters offices remodeled. Carpets, air conditioning, new furniture featured in the 250,000 square feet project.• Sheets from first 24sheet poster printed in America presented to F&K by Morgan Litho Co.• Financial Department and Order Processing Department moved from Sunset Metromedia offices to 1550 W. Washington Blvd headquarters.• Toledo branch sold to Stoner System.
• People’s Gallery, featuring triosk structures in regional shopping malls introduced.• A.C. Nielsen Study completed in Chicago.
• Frank Lott named President and General Manager. California Regional Headquarters set up in Los Angeles.• Lease Departments renamed, Real Estate Departments.
Oakland Branch bombed causing $750,000 damage to office. Weatherman antiwar group later admit attack was a mistake. The Army Officers Club one block west was intended target.
• Middleton outdoor plant in Dallas Fort Worth purchased.• Acquisition of Houston Poster Advertising Co. made in Houston, Texas.• Sterling Outdoor facilities acquired in Houston.
Billboard Control Measure defeated 62% to 3776 in Seattle, Washington.
• Ross Barrett named Senior vice-president of Metromedia.• New F&K Houston, Texas office/plant opened.• Rotating paint programs shifted to 60 day rotation. This was change from 30 day rotating in most West Coast markets.• Big Los Angeles billroom fire. Fire doors prevent spread of flames to rest of branch office and studios.
New Dallas/Fort Worth regional office and operating facility completed.
• Acquire Tampa St.Petersburg, Florida outdoor facilities.• Northwest Region facilities in Portland and Seattle sold to Northwest Communications Inc.• Acquire Hansen Advertising Co. outdoor plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.• Company motion picture, “Birth of A Notion” released.• Acquire Akron Canton Ohio territory.• Foster and Kleiser is 75 years old.
Proposition to prohibit #billboards in San Francisco rejected by voters in November election
• F&K stages art show at California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles called “Big Art”. It featured craft of billboard pictorial artists.• Acquire Baltimore facilities from Donelley Advertising.
First F&K 8sheet plant built in Oakland and San Francisco, Acquire B & G outdoor plant in San Antonio, Texas. Purchase made of poster and bulletin plant facilities of Outdoor West in Houston, Texas.
F&K now operating 40,000 outdoor facings has become largest outdoor advertising company in America.
• Acquire facilities of Estus Outdoor in Savannah, Georgia.• Purchase outdoor plant in Atlanta, Georgia Establish new 8 sheet plant in Tampa, Florida

• Acquire Pittsburgh, Pa. and Rochester, New York outdoor facilities.• Purchase outdoor plant of Allen Outdoor in Waco, Texas.• F&K plant in New York Metro area sold to Winston Network.• Metromedia sells all F&K structures to Outdoor Advertising Associates a limited partnership. Metromedia will continue to manage the business.• New Cleveland Region plant facility opened in Parma, Ohio.• Acquire Brunswick, Georgia plant• U.S. Supreme Court declares San Diego anti billboard ordinance unconstitutional.
• Purchase outdoor facilities in Austin and San Antonio, Texas• Acquire outdoor plants in Birmingham, Tuscaloose, Huntsville Sheffield and Gadsen, Alabama.• Hurricane Alicia damages or destroys more than 1,000 outdoor structures in Houston Galveston area.
• Bert Dart named President.• Public Relations Department renamed Public Affairs Dept. • New Publication, “Region Rap” published by Cleveland Region Employees.
“Super 300 Plus” units introduced. New 12×12 plus cut-out extension embellished painted unit. Copy is rotated every 90 days.
The Digital Age
• Structure Inventory Management System (SIMS) installed. Provides computer data for each location.• Computerized painted copy displayed on bulletins in Los Angeles.• New F&K 24-hour hotline phone system established. A 1-800-252-2551 number available for service and information calls.• Metromedia sells Foster and Kleiser Division to Patrick Media. Company name is changed to Patrick Media Group September 15th. General office in Los Angeles closed. Corporate headquarters shifted to Scranton, PA headed by Gerald Joyce, new President, CEO.
• Popular “I Love L.A” synchronized slide presentation produced. Also shown in video format.• Premier edition of new Patrick “Impressions” magazine distributed.• Company receives prestigious Silver Bell Award from Advertising Council for outstanding contribution to public service advertising.
• Atlanta Branch sold to Outdoor Today Inc.• PMG designated consultant for development of outdoor advertising in China (People Republic of China). Goal is to help modernize and expand medium there.• California Supreme Court rules outdoor advertising signs may only be placed on land zoned primarily for commercial or industrial use.• Rod Wales patents anti-pigeon lightweight spinning propeller device for use on outdoor units.
Patrick sponsors large outdoor advertising exhibit at Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles.
• State of California begins large scale anti-smoking campaign using PMG posters state wide..
Cincinnati, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Scranton branches sold to Martin Media. Corporate headquarters/administrative center moved to Chicago, Illinois • Stephen A. McNeeley appointed new CEO/President.• Patrick Media becomes a consolidated affiliate of General Electric Capital Corporation. • Company provides considerable photos and data for new book, “The American Billboard 100 years” marking the Centennial of O.A.A.A.
Purchase Shields Outdoor bulletin plant in Los Angeles Savannah, Georgia branch territory sold to Lamar Outdoor. Austin, Texas plant sold to Reagan Outdoor.
• Patrick awarded BART transit advertising franchise contract in San Francisco Bay area.• Patrick acquires Target Media bus shelters advertising in Orange County, Calf..• Purchase Omni outdoor plant in San Antonio, Texas.• Acquire Shelter Advertising of America bus shelters in Miami, Florida.• Company buys Blue Wallscapes Co. Purchase includes 57 large walls located in Los Angeles and San Francisco.• MapInfo geographic information systems (GIS) installed New Premiere Panels introduced.• Converts standard 30-sheet poster panels to 30% larger full bleed image area. Copy can be hand-painted or computer produced on vinyl.• Macintosh computers installed in all account executive sales offices• Protesters demonstrate on Hollywood Blvd in campaign to save 50 years old Coca Cole semi-spectacular bulletin.
• New Cactus Digital Imaging production facility makes four-color posters in variety of sizes.• Purchase facilities of Metropolitan Outdoor Advertising Co. in San Antonio, Texas and Los Angeles.• Reagan Outdoor Service begins utilizing trucks flush mounted with two 30-sheet posters one facing on each side of vehicle.• Introduce new transit shelter service in Sacramento.• Acquire Transportation Media Inc’s train shelter displays in Chicago.• Premiere Plus panels introduced in Milwaukee. These feature painted Vinyl surfaces wrapped around two vertical decked poster panels making a 600 sq. ft. surface
• Concourse posters installed in downtown San Francisco Bart stations.• Eight-sheet plant in San Antonio, Texas purchased from Delta Displays.• New transit shelter plant built in Simi Valley section of, Venture County.• Patrick Mall Displays opened in West Los Angeles and Orange County shopping centers.• Acquire Sam Trans bus side advertising contract covering Bayshore Transit routes in San Mateo County.• Patrick Media co-sponsors auto racing team named PMG/Firestone Indy Light Racing Series.• Company acquired by Eller Media Company and Hellman and Friedman Capital Partners. Name changed to Eller Media Company. Karl Eller is Chairman and CEO.• Corporate headquarters moved to Phoenix, Arizona.
• New “Power of Presence” video presentation produced.• Transit shelter plant developed to cover booming San Jose/Silicon Valley in Northern California.• “Ellie” Award established to recognize creative excellence in out-of-home advertising.• Karl Eller hosts large gala Eller Media Company reception at Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills.• Eller Corporate Meeting held in Phoenix. “Street Smarts” competition featured first ever presentation contest between all branch sales staffs.
Company sold to Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio.• Scott Eller becomes President and Chief Operating Officer• ABC Outdoor purchased in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.• Paxton Communications Corp. outdoor bulletin plant acquired in Orlando & Tampa, Florida.• Eller acquires 4,000 transit shelter displays in LA, County Orange and Northern San Diego from Metro Display Advertising.• Company distributes 20″x30″ American Automobile Industry posters commemorating a century of classic automotive outdoor advertising.• Karl Eller hosts happy reunion of former employees of Foster and Kleiser, Pacific Outdoor and Eller Outdoor in Los Angeles.• Clear Channel Communications buys large Universal Outdoor Co. The Eller Outdoor division now consists of 88,000 display faces
• Clear Channel Communications acquires The More Group operating in 25 countries.• Company now operating in 33 major U.S. Markets.• Total outdoor advertising displays 200,000+ in twenty five countries worldwide.• Eller Media web site goes on line.• Joe Blackstock company Archivist/Historian passed away after 58 years of service, November 25, 1998
• Eller acquires Mall Communications Network, becoming the leader in the US mall advertising business.• Paul Meyer is named President and COO of Eller Media Company replacing Scott Eller who becomes Vice-Chairman.• The More Group becomes Clear Channel International representing all of Clear Channel’s international media properties.• Eller completes the century as it started remaining America’s number one outdoor advertising company in customer service and top market presence.
• Eller acquires all Ackerley Media units in the Miami and West Palm Beach markets. This addition dramatically increases Eller’s total number of outdoor products in these key Florida markets.• A partnership agreement with Spectacolor is finalized which positions Eller as the top outdoor advertising company in the nation’s most recognized outdoor advertising location, Times Square. • The acquisition of Spain-based Urbamex quickly accelerated Eller’s outdoor media advantage in Mexico.• The acquisition of Interstate Outdoor strategically added many key units to Eller’s already strong Philadelphia and New York markets. • Eller entered the taxi advertising industry with the acquisition of Taxi Tops. Eller renames the new asset Eller Taxi Media. • The acquisition of Donrey Outdoor added 10 new markets to Eller’s U.S. market roster. Eller purchases Chile’s leading outdoor advertising company, Procom. This provides Eller’s first entrance into the Chilean outdoor market.
• Eller celebrates it’s 100th anniversary recognizing it’s thousands of clients who have helped it achieve success.• Eller announces the first-ever outdoor industry “real time” rate card via its web site.• Eller launches sweeping industry standardization changes for Proof-of-Performance in responds to customer needs.• Eller Media Company officially changes its name to Clear Channel Outdoor signaling its commitment to the parent company’s strategy to create a global brand.
• Clear Channel Outdoor announces the planned merger with the Ackerley Media Group• Clear Channel Outdoor completes merger with Ackerley Media Group• Clear Channel Airports (Chicago O’Hare Division) ranks among the magazine BtoB’s 2002 Top 50 Media Power List for its unique ability to reach business travelers. Clear Channel Airports joins a distinguished list of other top venues for placing b-to-b messages including: The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Business Week, The New York Times, and CNN’s “Moneyline”.• Paul Meyer is named President and CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor• Karl Eller Retires and receives a Lifetime Achievement award from OAAA. The award was presented to Mr. Eller, retiring Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor, at a party in his honor, held at the Los Angeles Clear Channel facility. The LA plant–six acres of prime real estate that was originally the site of a silent movie studio in the early 20th century–will be closed and relocated in 2003, allowing room for a new high school to be built on the West Washington Blvd. property. The presentation of the award, a Steuben crystal eagle, was made by former OAAA Chairman, Kevin Reilly, Jr., of Lamar Advertising Corporation. Also on hand to help celebrate were leaders from the outdoor advertising industry, members of the agency and advertising communities, colleagues, family and friends spanning Mr. Eller’s 50-year career. A video retrospective was shown, and a congratulatory letter from President George W. Bush was read aloud.• Fastpitch is implemented in all divisions allowing for an industry-first on-line database of inventory across the country. The program allows Account Representatives the ability to put local or national sales proposals together in a matter of minutes.
• Clear Channel Outdoor Chooses Arbitron And Scarborough Research For Information Services In All U.S. Outdoor Markets• Clear Channel Outdoor Los Angeles Receives 2003 Silver Bell Award For Community Service• Clear Channel Adshel And The City Of Oakland Dedicate A City-Wide Street Furniture Program• Paul Meyer announces plans for reorganization that includes a new postion for two Regional Presidents.
• Clear Channel Outdoor decides to actively seek new technologies that allow for remotely and instantaneously changeable static signage. Michael Hudes is named EVP Of Corporate Development with a dedication to helping make digital signage a reality.• Clear Channel Outdoor Awarded Franchise To Provide Advertising On NCTD Buses Operating Within North San Diego County• Announcement of Clear Channel Outdoor’s exclusive service guarantee.• 80 Manhattan Street displays are converted to companies first digital network. Displays are named the “Digital Street Network”• Domestic outdoor surpasses one billion in revenue for first time in company history.• Paul Meyer is elected as the Chairman of OAAA
First Outdoor company to use current TAB audited DEC’s• Clear Channel Outdoor Launches Multicultural Sales and Marketing Initiative in U.S. to focus on the growing U.S. Hispanic and African American population.• Clear Channel Outdoor implements an on-line Proof of Performance Website. The site allows advertisers the ability to see campaigns as they are posted and track details about posting dates, photos, removal dates and other important details.• Paul Meyer is named Global President and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor• The Cleveland division unveils a network of 7 high profile LED bulletin displays. The new network gives marketers significant creative flexibility, up-to-the-moment message opportunities and a visual impact unlike any other medium.



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  1. Jordan Tannenbaum says

    What a great history lesson! OOH sure has come a long way since 1897, though its core concept really has not changed. Great reminder to consider the past when looking forward to the future.

  2. Bill Board says

    Thanks Jordan. The past can be eerily familiar with the present and future.

  3. Jean-Paul Gedeon says

    Love this. You need to know where you’ve been to know where you are going!

  4. James Kleiser says

    This is a great history of the company. One question I have is about Walter Foster’s involvement in the company later. My understanding always was that he left fairly early. Perhaps he just wasn’t active in the day to day operation anymore. I know great Uncle George brought his brother Harry, my grandfather, into the operation sometime fairly early. My grandfather apparently retired from the company with stock in the middle 1920s. His brother George would come by for dinner, and argue, “Harry, you should come back to work! Business is booming!” And my grandfather would tell him, “George, as long as you keep working, I don’t have to!” Old family story.
    —Jim Kleiser

  5. “Old family story”

    One worth telling and we appreciate your sharing Jim Kleiser. Thank you

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