A new report by the Future of Music Coalition tells us about the sad state of radio today after six years of deregulation. We all know the problem – you hear the same songs on the radio over and over again, and most the songs you hear all day are crap, anyway. Add to that the lack of local programming, and you can’t tell the difference anymore between a station in Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Why is it so homogenous?
About six years ago, Congress took on one of its biggest special interest- fests when it passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Deregulation was supposed to be a boon for consumers … so the Feed asks, Has your cable bill gone down since then? And the question for today is, was radio better when conglomerates weren’t allowed to own hundreds of stations at a time?
Ten companies control two-thirds of radio listeners and revenue in the country. Clear Channel and Viacom alone control 42 percent of listeners and 45 percent of the revenue. Clear Channel is a great example of the big boys getting fat off the Telecommunications Act. Since the bill passed, they’ve grown from 40 stations to 1,240 – 30 times more than was legal before 1996. Clear Channel broadcasts to one-third of the country – over 100 million people. Now do you understand why you never hear local bands on the radio?
The consolidation of the radio industry also means that a few companies control most of the news people hear during drive time as well as other public affairs programming. Take the case of Davey D, a popular hip-hop DJ the Bay Area. He had a public affairs show on KMEL that dealt with real political and brought on hip hop artists you don’t always hear on the radio. Right after 9/11, brought on Rep. Barbara Lee, who spoke eloquently about her opposition to war in Afghanistan. Right after that, Davey D was fired due to “budget cuts.” Owner? Clear Channel.
At a time when Rupert Murdoch has his own news channel where his so-called journalists give policy memos to Bush, the Feed is pretty worried about a few companies controlling our news. That is, until Junction-City buys a few hundred radio stations.
Excerpted from www.junction-city.com/dailyfeed