Fools who own shares in radio giant Clear Channel (NYSE: CCU) might be well advised to slip quietly into the night -- figuratively, of course -- regarding the company until its situation gains the sort of clarity its name would imply. And if you don't own shares in the San Antonio-based company, don't be tempted by the gap between its current market price and the level at which it's scheduled to be bought out.

Here's what I mean: In what may be the second-longest-running saga since the Hundred Years' War, Clear Channel, which owns and operates more than 700 radio stations, is heading -- at least in theory -- for a buyout by private-equity firms Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The process, including a lengthy effort by the company to gain shareholder approval, has been dragging on for far more than a year.

When or if it occurs, the buyout price will be $39.20 a share. But that's more than 27% above Thursday's $30.74 closing, which represented a nearly 3% price slide on the day. Obviously, amid a mounting credit crunch, there's rampant skepticism that the deal will even get done.

Indeed, the Clear Channel picture becomes even more muddied from a suit the company filed against Providence Equity Partners. The suit demands "specific performance" in an protracted $1.2 billion deal for the firm to acquire Clear Channel's television stations. Although the suit technically won't affect the $19.5 billion deal with Bain and Lee, it does add a bit more noise to an already cacophonous situation.

I suppose that solid December results, along with strength at its billboard unit, Clear Channel Outdoor (NYSE: CCO), might have helped the company's buyout efforts. But the fact remains that, from New York Times (NYSE: NYT) to Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), and on to Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), media companies' shares have slidden like tots on a playground.

On that basis, and with credit becoming steadily tighter, it wouldn't be a stretch for there to be a change of heart. If that were to occur, there's no telling how far south the shares could plummet.

That possibility is clearly what the market's broadcasting. Let's hope my Foolish friends have their receivers turned on.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions, comments, or golf tips. Time Warner is a Stock Advisor selection. The Fool never tires of broadcasting its disclosure policy.