FCC Bombarded With Anti-Dereg Comments


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.


  1. How big is big enough? How rich is rich enough? If the sky’s the limit, what constraints, if any, ought to be set on growth, power and unbridled ambition? What’s the endgame of unshackled merger mania, already down to a handful of mega corporations vying for universal supremacy? Who will act with wisdom to discern what’s fair and just and decent?
    When they own everything on Earth, what them? Conquer space? Why not go for broke. Emulate Lucifer! Aspire to displace God Almighty?
    What reasonable limits, if any, ought government to impose on corporate size and influence? Sighting along the current tangent, few seem able to perceive the inevitable outcome. Who really gives a damn beyond today’s bottom line?
    Who can explain how “we the people” are better served by a few pampered privileged media lords, rather than trust-busting them and widely dispersing media power?
    Is it even possible to deregulate quantity and quality of broadcast property ownership, and yet avoid eroding our precious freedom of speech? Deregulation militates against equality, justice and liberty for all, and denies the very core principles of our Constitutional Republic, which is intended to protect individuals and families, not uncontrollable, too-big-to-fail, amoral corporations.
    Once the finest and fairest model of broadcasting on Earth, today rapacious corporate America and myopic regulators are hell bent on wrecking it, Democrats and Republicans alike. Capitalism running amuck! Monetized evil, failing to discern how greed incites exasperated have-nots to rise in rebellion against their ignoble masters.
    So what’s the destiny of galloping NAB fostered, FCC approved deregulation? Certainly an unprecedented feeding frenzy, where media giants gorge themselves on any remaining crumbs of RF spectrum, to end in a nationwide private broadcasting duopoly, then monopoly. Like XM and Sirius, when two become one. Anyone with an ounce of foresight is glaring and trembling at this approaching behemoth. Who is wise, brave? Who will fight to defeat the beast before it devours the few of us who remain?

    • What you’re talking about is not the role of the FCC, but the Department of Justice. It’s their job to oversee the size of corporations. That role would not change by radio deregulation. If any company becomes too big, the DOJ can order it to divest, regardless of FCC rules.

      • Yes, the DOJ has ignored its role overseeing trusts under both Dems or Reps. They’ve done little since the breakup of Ma Bell. GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) not forgetting Microsoft, are long overdue for a good trust-bust. Yet, the debate here is over radio and TV deregulation, permitting fat broadcasters to grow fatter, at the expense of others. The NAB’s and the FCC’s feet must be held to the fire.

        • This is not true. DOJ required Entercom to sell stations in Boston when it merged with CBS. DOJ also sued AT&T to prevent its merger with Time Warner. DOJ has also sued Apple and Microsoft, and is currently investigating Facebook. You need to get your facts straight. Broadcasters have not grown fatter. In fact, the overall value of radio has dropped by 30% in the last ten years. Acquiring a declining asset doesn’t make you fatter.

  2. They’re not making this decision based on the number of comments they get. The people voted for Republicans, and Republicans believe in smaller government. Smaller government means less regulation. That’s all these people know. They’re not going to re-regulate anything unless it has to do with abortion. If you hate de-regulation, your chance to vote comes next year. Until then, its majority rule.

  3. How many jobs went away and how many stations vanished after the telecom bill of 1996? This industry cannot survive this next round. Regulations mean competition. Competition means JOBS. It’s really not that hard to understand

    • Those jobs were going to go away whether you like it or not. Computer automation is what did that and the industry in general made that move. And, by the way, that’s not limited to radio. It’s happening in professions all over America. Best way to save your job and make yourself needed is to learn how to run the automation…and maybe fix it, too.

  4. Although further deregulation is a tawdry and cynical strategy for overwhelming those outfits that would be crushed by a lack of competition, there is still the element and/or opportunity for smaller outfits and stand-alone companies to do what needs to be done.
    They MUST be able to attract and hold larger audiences and they MUST be able to demonstrate extraordinary ROI as a result of generating superior ads.
    Otherwise, their bleatings of righteous indignation become just more noise from those who are unwilling to take the necessary steps.
    The analytics are available, but, so far, the determination to take responsibility for their own results is not.
    Again, This Is Not A Test.


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