Since they're owned by Bain Capital now, it's really just a matter of time before they have to start selling off their stations for dirt cheap.
Already they've cut corners on programming, so much so that at one point people died because, hey, no need to have local people actually, you know, Responding to Emergency Broadcast Alerts.
So, that means that over 200 radio stations already are up for sale, and many others will soon be.
If this isn't a good time to start talking about Fairness in broadcasting, I don't know when a good time is.
(More on the flip. Mostly Ranting and spitballing, but you know me.)
You see, radio consolidation has resulted in several trends that are to my mind wholly repulsive.
The homogenization of music, for example, is one of those things that is only possible with an industry that has a lock on the distribution channels of music. There's TONS of good stuff out there as far as music goes , but damned little of it is getting played. Instead we're consistently treated to flavor of the month airbrushed pop teen/young adult.
So, I think it's about time for the FCC to step up and completely cancel these licenses. It's clear that Clear Channel has no interest in using them as anything else than a money making monopoly, so hell with em. They wanna sell em, they sell em back to the government for what they paid for it. Which aren't easy to find, but after a lot of digging, I find that after the "auction" the average fee paid by each station is approximately $45,000 dollars per year. And ya know what? That's about all that they should get for for running it into the ground.
It's time that the FCC declares a clean slate and lets the public have at these stations. No auction involved. Seeing as royalties are already going to be a problem for new stations that want to play music, it's a good sign for independent and local artists!
Yup, that's right RIAA and all the rest of you folks who are concerned with people playing your music! You want people to play your songs, well, durn it, looks like the young local broadcasters aren't going to be able to afford your rates. Guess they'll have to rely on local entertainers and other folks who are willing to forgo instant payment for the opportunity to have their work heard.
In the end it would be a major win for the "little" people. Maintaining a local radio station will not be nearly as profitable as it used to be, but it won't need to be. We've already seen that the old methods of distribution are losing ground. It's about time to acknowledge that radio at its heart is not about appealing to everyone coast to coast.
Radio needs to go back to what it is good at. Local news. Local stations. Local artists. I cheer the demise of Big Radio, and look forward to the possibilities for all of us.
So, anybody wanna help chip in 44, 500 bucks to help buy a local station? ;)