Radio Ink Poll: Majority Opposed To More Deregulation


POLL - More Deregulation For Radio?


  1. I’m so thrilled to see all of the people commenting here who are going to use their own personal money and buy radio stations, rather than depend on investment companies or large radio corporations. That means Scripps can expect a lot of calls for their stations that have been on the block since January. iHeart’s Aloha Trust will finally sell all their stations. Entercom’s Ocean States Trust will be able to sell all their stations. All of these commenters will use their own personal fortunes to compete against EMF the next time a station comes up for sale. And once all these individuals get these radio stations, they’ll spend even more of their personal money to hire lots of local staff, and make sure to offer them medical insurance and retirement plans. It’s so exciting! So many people who have so much disposable money! I really hope it happens, so we will see people throw away cell phones and buy transistor radios again. I’m not sure where the people will find them, but that’s OK. Because what the public really craves is more local news and more local DJs. Anyone who offers them that will make a fortune!

    • My earlier comment came as one who is in the process of using my own money to buy 2 radio stations in a medium market. You act like the reason that people aren’t buying stations locally is because there is no interest from smaller/local groups. That is simply not true. The problem with prior deregulation and with the proposed deregulation is that it causes the price for stations to go up so much that it becomes impossible to make a profit unless you are large enough to work on economies of scale. The bad news for everyone except the big companies is you get fewer people locally employed, less attention to local events, less programming to a local audience, and less concern over local needs. Simply put, deregulation has one purpose and one purpose only: to help large radio groups get larger and to reduce competition from smaller entities.
      With regards to the attitude of the public, you have no idea whether the public craves local programming because, quite simply, hardly anybody is doing it. But I can tell you where I live the local stations are outperforming in sales the biggest major group in town because they actually program for their community. Likewise, the reason why groups like Entercom perform better than groups like iHeart is due more to their focus on employing within and programming to their communities. Yes, people want other options besides traditional over the air radio, but it’s silly to think that local broadcasters cannot build diverse and exciting content across multiple medias. That’s a business structure issue, not an issue of the size of the company needed to do it. But at the core, people are still listening to radio in droves and will for at least the foreseeable future and throwing out the idea that localism works because people also enjoy the digital global community is misplaced at best.

      • There’s a lot of deregulation that doesn’t involve ownership limits. In fact, there have been no changes in ownership limits since 1996. But there have been other changes in regulations. If there are going to be any changes, they will only involve the AM sub-caps. I don’t think changing those will destroy radio as we know it. AM radio is dead, and deregulation didn’t kill it.

        BTW let me tell you from my experience, it costs more to run a station than it does to buy one. Especially if you have a full local staff.

        • I agree, I’m not one that’s opposed to removing regulations, particularly antiquated ones, in the name of fostering a more competitive environment for radio. However, because, unfortunately, there are still bad actors in this industry, some regulations are good for the industry as a whole, even if they are bad for some of the most powerful voices in it. The survey question asked specifically about removing all ownership caps, which, in my opinion, is not good for the industry, even if it is good for some of the larger players, and I think it is debatable that the changes in limits in 96 have resulted in better service to the public good. The question on AM sub-caps is more of a question of whether it is letting the proverbial camel’s nose into the tent. If AM is dead, though, I don’t think removing sub-caps will help it as the majority of radio groups have shown they have little interest in creating content that will have enough draw to bring people back to AM and really only are looking for good excuses to get a translator in a market where they have hit their cap or is too crowded for another Class C.
          Thanks for the input on running a station. I agree, running one will always have more cost over the long run, but even a single station owner can make a profit if they can get in. The difficulty with how the ’96 ownership deregulation impacted station prices is the margins for a single station owner are not high enough to justify the investment in most cases. My three year projection has a full staff with a modest profit by year three, but if I had to pay $8 million for the two stations, there is no way any investor or lender would be willing to take that kind of risk. When prices were saner, more locals owned because they could and they could make a living doing it. The price of entry now is just too great which limits diversity and localism in my opinion.

        • If Deregulation did not killed AM radio, then WHO Did it? When the FCC had the option to implement Stereo AM receivers they declined it because they required more bandwidth, bandwidth that placed at risk many 50Kilo watt Monsters who were licensed with those monstrosity signals that required extreme limitations on the AM bandwidth in order to avoid interference!

          Stereo AM Transmitters combined with Stereo Receivers, plus a lower restriction on AM bandwidth were some of the things that the FCC never placed their interests on because they were protecting the Deregulation of those days of Huge AM radio signals who were the pretty players 50 years ago! Few Decades ago, the Radio Broadcasters always asked to the FCC for more Power, More Power, More Power despite it meant sacrificing the AM audio quality.

          Now the AM mono dial sounds like shit because of those deregulations placed back on those days. Deregulation that are hunting us until our days. Stop defending the stupidity of the FCC. They have been on the mercy of the big groups with lots of money. Now with this poppet who is coming from Verizon and who will go to Verizon ones he ends up his Deregulation Agenda, The Big Corporations will thrive under this deregulation stupidities while the average joe trying to make al living will succumb to this tsunami of FCC bureaucracy.

          In Mexico, The Elite placed another poppet Called Enrique Peña Nieto, and the stupid Mexicans voters voted for him. He ruled to benefit the elite. Now, Mexico’s infrastructure has been totally deregulated and sold to big corporations from all over the world, but the majority are from the USA.
          Now the Mexican small guy has been eliminated, and their deregulations had created an incredible amount of misbalance on wealth where a few elitists owns every thing while the rest of the Mexicans are literally starving to death!

          The very same elite who choose our Mexican corrupt poppet presidente, is the very same elite who choose our Stupid FCC CEO Mr. A PAI what ever his stupid name is.

          We all know Mr. Trump is the biggest advocate for Corporate America including radio, and he (his Administration) were the ones who appointed this FCC idiot to benefit his future employers once he gets out of the CEO’s chair even if in the process the future of the USA radio broadcasters will be compromised for many, many years in the future!

          • A lot of revisionist history. AM radio’s decline began in the 70s, long before deregulation. If the FCC was trying to protect big AM signals, why did they do away with protection for clear channel AMs, and allowed hundreds of low powered AM stations to chip away at the signals of the biggest stations. Same with LPFM. If the government was in love with corporate radio, you’d never have LPFM. AM stereo was lipstick on a pig. Everyone knew it. That’s why few stations embraced it. It has nothing to do with the FCC.

    • We all know how fishy those divestiture trusts can be specially when the very same corporations who are merging, they are the very same ones benefiting from those trust where there is not a real intention to sell. The divestiture trust are bureaucratic strategies on one of the many FCC’s Loopholes to hold the profits of radio stations who don’t fit and clearly violate the FCC ownership rules.

      I bet that if those signals in those Trust will be priced fairly, and if they were to be really in the market to sell, they will sell in a minute knowing there are hundreds of broadcasters able and willing to buy them, but in the vast majority of cases, Divestiture Trust are just a nick name so a company can operate, hold, and maintain control of signals who are out side of the FCC ownership limits. If you don’t believe me, read this:

      First, trusts are occasionally established specifically to effect compliance with the Commission’s rules for holdings which would violate the rules if held outright. Because of our concern that divestiture trusts present a potential for abuse, that can pose unacceptable risks to competition, we have consistently found that insulated divestiture trusts should be employed only where necessary, and then to as limited an extent as possible.

      • Once again, none of what you say there is true. The fact is there aren’t, as you suggest “hundreds of broadcasters able and willing to buy them.” If there were, EMF wouldn’t have been able to pick up great signals in Chicago and Detroit at great prices. The FCC monitors these divestment trusts, and if the former parents were to profit from them, they would be committing a crime. If you in fact know it’s happening, it is your civic responsibility to call the police and have them charged with a crime. Otherwise, it’s just more fiction from you.

    • We are victims of selfishness and greed, that owning more is better. Where does a newcomer find cash to buy a radio station at inflated prices? What drove station prices out of reach? Supply and demand. Fat cats were allowed to buy them all up, leaving no spectrum left on which to build. So values shot up. The error was to keep failing stations (especially AMs) artificially alive by allowing other stations in the same market to buy them. Better to let a bankrupt station die and newcomers rebid for the frequency. Radio was a lot less stressful, more fun, profitable, and more responsible to local listeners back when the FCC limited nationwide ownership to a maximum of 7 AMs, 7 FMs and 7 TVs, and a limit of one AM, FM and TV per market. Ancient wisdom and good common sense!

  2. At this stage of the game, 20-plus years past the misguided deregulation that took place in 1996, the horses are already out of the barn. The damage has been done.

    However in summary, let’s review just for history’s sake. The deregulation that occurred in 1996, was NOT good for the COMMUNITIES to be served by the licensee. (Where did the local content and community involvement go?) It was NOT good for the ADVERTISERS. (Sure put your radio station first going into the eight-minute, 15-unit stop-set). It was NOT good for the LISTENERS. (Sure there’s nothing wrong with boring, vanilla, predictable content, or no compelling content at all). Oh, and it was NOT good for the EMPLOYEES of the once-great industry. (Hello? Hello? Is there anybody in there?)

    Sales Consultant Jim Williams way back in the 70’s and 80’s often would say, “People hate success…other people’s success. So they either want to eliminate the competition, or buy the competition.” One can see how well deregulation worked in the airlines, banking and energy-oil industries. But hey, go get your lobbyists to buy politicians influence. Dylan was right way back in 1963…”Money doesn’t talk, it swears.”

    Please, please, just one more time, PI$$ on my shoes and tell me, try to convince me that it’s raining.

  3. The homogenization of Radio, city to city, format to format (even “borrowed” logos) has pushed the listener to the ‘net. The dumbing down of Programming by these Major Owners has resulted in a loss of localism, anonymous VT for hire, and constant “contraction of resources”. A Newsroom? When hurricanes and floods devastate Coastal towns and cities, “The Majors” on FM are running VT format recorded 4 days earlier! The 1kw AM daytimer up in the police call band at 1370 or 1580Kc is on at night with a tired old Gates giving full community service and information. And who will risk getting fined? Then they put salt in the wound but glomming up translators meant for AM Operators, and retans HD-2 signals that prove IT doesn’t work? REALLY?

  4. So unlike every other poll, you don’t show the results after people vote.

    Guess we know how the results are going to come out.

  5. I resent the slanted question that pushed the notion that larger groups are needed to compete with social media. We saw what consolidation did to broadcasting in the last 20 years. Please dont use polls (inception selling) to push ideas. Thank you ~Brooke

  6. It’s amazing how the FCC will complain at the lack of diversity in ownership and localism on one hand and then on the other consider completely deregulating the industry. It is already impossible for almost anyone outside the mega-rich or large corporations to buy a station in a medium to large market. How do they think deregulation will somehow change that? Simply put, local voices will disappear and large companies will start snapping up stations in smaller markets that they can run now without even anything local and just run it on scale. The sad thing is that radio will lose its competitive advantage against these digital empires because, honestly, the only thing radio has going for it now over them is that local sound.

      • The FCC is Considering Deregulating Broadcasting just enough, so Corporate America Big Fishes may emerge, own, and create bigger radio clusters with technically no breaks on the pedal to preventing them from an inminente collision towards the small guys out there! What a great idea!!

  7. Joel Nava – [email protected]
    When a Radio Company is allowed to own as many station as they please, they will do any thing to have as many signals as they may, even if they may incur in debt in order to outsource the competition. The FCC should REGULATE more the Ownership of radio stations, so more ownership variety, creativity, and Localism could be the norm instead of the exception.

    Social Mediais a free form of communication as Radio was at once, but now, with the stupid intervention of the DEREGULATION rules of the FCC, we have two major Radio owners, and both of them killed the localism of radio, and both are bankrupt!! Do you want more of this shit?

    Do you want to compete with social media? Create attractive content! Lower your unaffordable Ad rates, and give results to the Advertisers!! How many times sponsors have lost thousands putting their hard earned money in lousy and stupid radio campaigns just to find out that those campaigns yield nothing else then a big loss?

    Google and Facebook can yield many times better results at a fraction of the investment charged by many, many over priced radio station.

    If you are in Denver, even if you have no one listening to your lousy signal, you will charge 45.00 50.00 100.00 175.00 or even more per ad just because you are in a major city, but who can guarantee you that all those people will tune only to your ugly and lousy signal? No one!

    If you have money, you can manipulate Nielsen to place you even in the number one place, but in reality, when the customer place the order, and when no one calls, or no one shows up, despite what your ratings may be, if you don’t sell the customer products or services for a fair price, you all are doomed!!

    In Social Media, you control the size, and the magnitude of your campaign, and most of the time, you can place content on facebook totally free of any charge, and it yields wonderful results because the people in facebook are real members meanwhile the potential listeners on your radio station are just potential listeners, but you have no way to really know how many people is listening to your ugly jukebox!!

    if the FCC deregulates the Radio industry, it will be the last nail in this coffin! Radio needs to to the opposite, it needs to come back to its original roots of doing local radio for the communities. Radio needs to re quote their ad prices based on real audience and not just based on a flawed and corrupt survey designed to fool every one including them selves!!

    • “we have two major Radio owners…”

      Not true. In your own town, the #1 station is owned by Townsquare, and it’s all local. But while we’re on the subject, how many social media owners do we have? Two! Twitter and Facebook. You want more regulation, yet you praise unregulated media. Try to be consistent.

      • Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Snapchat. There’s more than just two. And nobody is standing in the way of more.

        Radio isn’t an infinite spectrum. If it were, deregulate it all.

  8. Radio needs to provide a diversity of voices, which was reduced by the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, reduced even more by the 1996 Telecom bill, and would be almost entirely eliminated if unlimited ownership were allowed.
    Kevin O’Brien


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