Pages and pages of comments from individuals opposing more radio deregulation were filed with The FCC yesterday. The comments were a result of a campaign by The musicFIRST coalition.
The hundreds of comments were an identical form letter put together by the organization which states how important their local radio station is to them and how big broadcasters would weaken local radio if the NAB’s proposal to loosen ownership caps is lifted.
A good chunk of the radio industry wants to see ownership caps lifted. The pro-dereg argument is that owning more stations will allow the industry to compete on a more fair playing field with the unregulated digital players such as Facebook and Google, which are taking local ad dollars from traditional media. Those opposing lifting the caps say that is nonsense, pointing to some markets where owners are maxed out, and they either lower rates to get buys on those poorly rated stations or they throw the inventory in as a bonus to get a larger chunk of a buy. iHeart, Urban One and NABOB oppose, just to name a few companies.
Here’s the entire form letter musicFIRST put together for its campaign:
“With regard to the comments filed on the Quadrennial Review of Media Ownership Rules, I agree with the position taken in the joint filing from the musicFIRST and Future of Music Coalitions. My local radio station is important to me and to my community. I urge you not to let big broadcasters weaken the Local Radio Station Ownership Rule as suggested in the response from the National Association of Broadcasters. Doing so would destroy the localism, competition and diversity that listeners want from local stations. It’s unacceptable to enable one company to completely dominate a small radio market through ownership of every station. Stifling competition in this way would mean that listeners like me will be exposed to less diverse points of view, fewer new artists and types of music and less public interest programming. My local radio stations are a part of my community and I do not want to see them disappear. Please do not weaken the Local Radio Station Ownership Rule.”
It’s still unknown when the FCC will put its Quadrennial Report conclusions on an agenda. This current FCC seems to be leaning toward lifting caps in some way. The radio industry being divided on the issue may lead the Commission to choose something short of what the NAB is asking.