In a sign that politicians are finally waking up to the dangers of the
current monopolistic radio market, US Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI)
statement before Congress Thursday in which he criticized the
growing concentration of media industries.
Feingold notes that since the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications
Act, which all but eliminated ownership caps of radio stations, just
four corporations have come to control a majority of stations in many
markets and genres, including a whopping 80% of stations in the New
York area. He then explores some of the disturbing effects of this
consolidation: decreasing variety in programming, the elimination of many small station owners, and even rising concert admission costs.
This consolidation came about, Feingold claims, because large media
conglomerates were effectively able to buy the passage of the 1996
Telecommunications Act. Feingold also promises to offer legislation
which will remedy this Act in the coming weeks.
It is a sign of hope that Senator Feingold, and others, are noticing
the devastating effects that media consolidation has had upon
consumers, effects that we at 2600 and on WBAI have been criticizing for
years. Unfortunately, the same interests that caused the 1996 Act to
be passed are even more powerful now, and it's far from certain that
any progress will be made.