The Plus Side of Radio Monopolies

It is disturbing to see how consolidation in the radio industry is leading to the gobbling up of radio stations by major companies. Evergreen Media just swept through the Chicago market, taking a gangsta-rap station and changing it into born-again gospel overnight!

However, there is a small way to fight against the tide. Granted, not all the ways may be legal, but they are doable.

Raid the chief engineer’s closet.
A lot of stations, after being bought out by the some monolith, traditionally do some downsizing. There’s been a lot of outcry about the dwindling amount of local programming available on the airwaves, but station engineers are getting hard hit, too. Why keep one person on the payroll for each station if it’s not necessary (FCC rules now allow for unattended operation), or contracted technicians can do the job at half the cost? Read More

The Hundt Follies

FCC Chairman Reed Hundt has announced his resignation from office. Hundt’s in good company; FCC Commissioner James Quello has already announced his intent to step down, and Commissioner Andrew Barrett flew the coop in April.

The current Commission has been unmatched in its zeal to sell out the public. It was under Hundt and cohorts that auctions of portions of the spectrum became common practice. While the agency was mandated to adopt the process with the passage of the Telecom Act of 1996, the zeal with which it went ahead with the sales is disturbing.

The auctions have been somewhat controversial, but when the plan brought hundreds of millions of dollars into the government’s coffers, the outcry slackened off. Now the winning corporations “own” the rights to broadcast on various areas of the spectrum, and the public loses. Read More