Former FCC Commissioner Touts Geo-Targeting


Andrew Barrett was an FCC Commissioner from 1989-1996. Barrett has written an op-ed piece for Chicago Defender touting the importance of geo-targeting stating it’s the solution to the continued inequities minority broadcasters face.

The former Commissioner says these broadcasters need the ability to super localize in order to compete with other platforms. “The ability to hyper-localize content and advertising would truly enhance the localism bedrock of radio broadcasting, yet the industry is restrained from doing so at a time when all their competitors – television, cable, mobile, Internet, newspapers, direct mail – have the ability to deliver content that is tailored to a specific area and is hyper-localized to maximize its interest to the audience and its impact.

Some of radio’s largest companies have been trying to block the FCC from approving the geo-targeting technology, which has been proposed by a company called GeoBroadcast Solutions. Barrett says The Commission should not allow that to happen. “Inexplicably, some large radio groups want to impede competition by not allowing minority stations to localize their broadcasts, and want to frustrate the ability of these broadcasters to offer affordable advertising costs for small business owners who want to reach their neighborhood but can’t afford to buy the entire market. The FCC should not allow these large radio groups to stifle innovation and keep the radio industry locked into 20th Century technology. It’s a missed opportunity and a bad mistake, given the history of the industry and the endless loop of lip service for change that never happens.”

The technology is being considered by the Commission. Public comment period has closed. There’s been no indication from the Commission on when a decision will be made.

Read Barrett’s entire column HERE.


  1. We might consider “broad”casting as a description of the industry that still reaches most people. Over the years broadcasters have chased other providers by trying to emulate them with little success, while minimizing what brought them to the party in the first place. Geo-casting over the air through boosters can cause even more problems than the current booster/translator situation in my opinion. I’m still a broadcast radio user (like many others) and would hate to see the system get even more convoluted than it is now.

  2. He doesn’t understand the proposal–or is proposing something way beyond what is proposed by the use of several synchronous boosters. The concept was to use the “geo-targeting” to send separate commercial material via the boosters while keeping the main channel programming. This would flip the concept on its head, using boosters to run separate programming.

    Original concept was unworkable, this is illogical.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here