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May 14, 2018 12:34 pm  #1

Could 1 Company Own Every U.S. Radio Stn. In A Market? It May Happen

There was a time not long ago when many decried the idea that the big guys, like Entercom, iHeart and Cumulus, were swallowing up markets, taking over big radio stations and leaving little local behind. The latter two of the above mentioned have already filed for bankruptcy and own some of the biggest radio stations in the world - including WABC, WLS and more. 

To a growing number, the fact they've been allowed to take over so many huge outlets so quickly was alarming. But according to an article in Forbes, the new FCC Commissioner really, really likes deregulation. So much so that there's a chance he and his cronies may just allow one large company to literally own every station in a market as a way to survive. 

What's the logic in such a move? According to defenders, Facebook and Google are siphoning away huge amounts of advertising, and this would allow them to get bigger, better and more muscular in chasing already decreasing ad dollars by squeezing out independents who can charge lower rates for their commercials.

From Forbes:

"Under current FCC rules, in the name of competition, no one station group can be the dominant voice in a market. So in your typical radio market, even in small markets, you might have four or five groups competing for listeners and advertisers.

Many in radio...want the rules changed to reduce competition. So instead of five competitors in a market, there might be just three or two, maybe even just one.

The rationale: With digital players like Google and Facebook sopping up over half of all local ad dollars, and each enjoying 100 percent audience penetration, it no longer makes sense to limit radio’s share of audience. Easing the rules to allow any one radio group to gain 40 or 50 percent share of audience would help it to better compete."

I don't buy that argument - reducing competition almost never makes things better. But that's what they're using to underpin the idea. For those of us on the border, imagine if say, Entercom owned every single radio station in Buffalo (although it seems like they already do.) It could easily mean turnkey operations are next, with tons of job losses, no real local programming and, thanks to new rules, not even an actual studio present in the city of licence. 

It's a scary thought, but here's something even more frightening. It looks almost certain that it's going to happen sooner than later. 

Can Deregulation Fix What's Broken About Radio? That's The Hope.
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May 14, 2018 4:21 pm  #2

Re: Could 1 Company Own Every U.S. Radio Stn. In A Market? It May Happen

One voice. One choice.
It's bad enough Buffalo NY alone has no more WGR news radio to compete with WBEN.