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Posted 14 Jun 2002 23:27:19 UTC

In a sign that politicians are finally waking up to the dangers of the current monopolistic radio market, US Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) delivered a 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.

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